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s 



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S5l 



ON THE SUNNY SHORE. 




ik i ^^\ 



ON THE SUNNY 
SHORE 



aUO VADIS 

(HMIf RV/jaiBHE t BWICl) 

TnnibEal from the Poliih by 

S. C. Di SOISSONS 

M of "A Pariam in America," " BoMon An 




NEW YORK 

R. F. FENNO & COPANY 

9 AND II EAST i6TH STKSOT 



Copyright, 1897 

BT 

FBNNO & COMPANY 






ON THE SUNNY SHORE. 



CHAPTER I. 

In an open carriage the painter was 
sitting beside Pani Elzen; opposite them 
were her twins^ llomulus and Remns. He 
was thinking about her and looking at the 
sea^ and the scenery was worth looking at. 
They were driving from Nice to Monte 
Garlo^ on the road called old Cornishe, 
which stretched along the rocky shore. 
To the left the view was stopped by high 
gray bare rocks; to the right the bine 
depth of the Mediterranean^ apparently 
lying very low^ looked like a boundless 
precipice. From the heights on which 
they were the small fishermen's boats looked 



8 On the Sunny Shore. 

like white spote^ and in the far distance it 
was difficnlt to distinguish the sails from 
scamews flying near the water. 

Pani Elzen was leaning on Swirski^s 
shoulder; and was looking with her dreamy 
eyes on the mirror-like sea, and did not 
seem to realize what she was doing. 

Swirski felt her contact, and a shiver 
of delight ran through him. He was 
thinking that if Romulus and Remus were 
not there he would encircle her waist and 
press her to his breast. 

But in the meanwhile he was afraid that 
if he should do so ho could not hesitate 
any longer, and would be obliged to 
propose. 

At that moment Pani Elzen said: 

*'Will you stop the carriage, please?" 

Swirski did so, and they were silent for 
awhile. 

''What a calmness after the noise in 
Monte Carlo!" said the young widow. 



On the Sunny Shore. 9 



€€ 



I hear only the music," answered the 
painter. '' It's probable they are playing 
on board of an ironclad in Ville Franche." 

In fact, the same wind which bore the 
soft tones of the music from time to time 
brought the perfume of orange blossoms 
and heliotrope. 

Beneath one could see the roofs of villas 
scattered on the shore, hidden in the 
thicket of eucalyptais,and beside them large 
white spots formed by blossoming almonds 
and pink palms. Still lower there was 
seen the blue harbor of Ville Franche, 
flooded with sunlight, with swarms of 
large vessels. 

The life seething beneath was in strange 
contrast with the silent deadness of the 
bare mountains, over which the trans- 
parent sky, without a cloud, was stretched. 
Here, amid those quiet rocks, everything 
grew small and disappeared. The car- 



10 On the Sunny Shore. 

riage seemed to be some kind of bng^ 
glaed to the rocks. 

*' Here life ends entirely/' said Swirski, 
looking on the bare stones. 

Pani Elzen leaned heavier on his 
shonlder and answered with sleepy Toice: 

''It seems to me it begins here.'' 

Swirski answered after awhile with a 
certain emotion: 

" Maybe you are right.'' 

And he looked at her askance. Pani 
Elzen raised her eyes to his^ bat soon cov- 
ered them with her eyelids, as if she was 
confused. Notwithstanding that opposite 
her were sitting the two boys, at that 
moment she looked like a young girl 
whose eyes cannot bear the first glimmering 
of love. Then they were both silent; only 
from below sounds of music were heard. 

In the meanwhile, far out on the sea, 
near the entrance to the harbor, appeared 
a white cloud of smoke, i^ud immediately 



\ 



On the Sunny Shore. 11 

the ''qnietness was disturbed by Bemus, 
who, jumping from his seat, exclaimed: 

''Tiens! h FohmidahUr 

Pani Elzen looked angrily at her young- 
est twin. She regretted that moment, in 
which every word would decide her future. 

*' Eemus/' said she, ''veuz-tu te tairef 

'^Mais, maman (fest Fohmidabhr 

*' What a dreadful boy!" 

''PouhquoiV 

''He is stupid, but this time he is 
right,'^ said Romulus. " We were in Ville 
Franche yesterday, and they told us that 
the whole squadron was here except tKe 
Formidable, which they expect to-day.'* 

To this Bemus answered with a strong 
accentuation on the last syllable: 

*' You are stupid yourself!" 

They began to fight. Pani Elzen 
knew how much Swirski was disgusted 
with the way the boys were beiug brought 



12 On the Sunny Shore. 

np and with their language. She ordered 
them to be qniet^ and then said: 

'*I told yon, as well as Mr. Kresowicz, 
that yon mnstn^t speak any other language 
than Polish." 

Eresowicz was a student from Zurich, 
and had consumption. Pani Elzen found 
him in Riviera and engaged him as a tutor 
for her children, after she met Swirski, and 
especially after the satirical remark of the 
rich Pan Wiadrowski, that ** respectable 
houses do not educate children to be trav- 
eling salesmen!" 

In the meanwhile the Formidable 
spoiled the humor of the impressive 
painter. After a time the carriage, rat- 
tling on the stones, moved further on. 

'* It is you who asked me to take them 
with us," said Pani Elzen with a sweet 
voice. *' You are too kind to them; but 
we must come here some moonlight night. 
Will you come?" 




On the Sunny Shore. 13 

'* Every time yon wish me to," answered 
Swirski. "There is no moon to-night 
and your dinner will be very late." 

" It's tme," said Pani Elzen, " but will 
you tell me when it will be full moon? 
What a pity I didn't ask you to dine with 
me alone. During the moonlight it must 
be charming here, although to-night my 
heart palpitates very much. If you could 
only know how it is throbbing just now! 
Look at my pulse; one can see it even 
through the glove." 

Here she showed her hand, clad in a 
very tidy glove, and offered it to Swirski. 
He took it in both his hands and looked. 

" I can't see it," said he, " but I will be 
able to hear it." 

And bending his head, he put his ear 
on the buttons of the glove, pressed the 
hand very close to his face, then kissed it, 
and said: 

"When I was a lad I used to catch 



14 On the Sunny Shore. 

birds, and their hearts throbbed in exactly 
the same way. Tear pulse is like a cap- 
tive bird." 

She smiled almost sadly and repeated: 

"Like a captive bird?*' After awhile 
she asked: '^ What did you do with the 
captive birds?" 

"I was very much attached to them, 
but they always flew away." 

" Bad birds!" 

The painter spoke further with a certain 
emotion: 

'' It always happened that way in my 
life. I searched in vain for a bird which 
would like to remain with me; finally I 
lost even hope." 

"No! You must keep that," answered 
Pani Elzen. 

Here Swirski said to himself that, as 
this thing began so long ago, it must be 
finished as it will please Ood. In that 
moment he had the impression of a man 



On the Sunny Shore. 15 

who stuffs his ears with his fingers and 
covers his eyes with his hands when he 
wishes to plunge; bnt he felt that it must 
be done^ and that there was no time for 
reflections. 

*' Would you not prefer to take a walk?'' 
he asked. '^ The carriage can follow us, 
and then we will have more freedom to 
talk.'' 

'^ Very well," said Pani Elzen with de- 
termination. 

Swirski touched the coachman with his 
stick, the carriage stopped, and they all 
alighted. Bomulus and Remus rushed for- 
ward, throwing stones over the precipices, 
while Swirski and Pani Elzen remained 
behind. But evidently there was some 
ill-fate over them that day, for before they 
could take advantage of the moment they 
perceived a cavalier, followed by a groom, 
coming from Monaco stop where Bomulus 
and Bemus were. 



16 On the Sunny Shore. 

''It is Do Sinten/^ said Pani Elzen 
impatiently. 

''Yes, I recognize him.'* 

In fact, they noticed the head of a horse, 
and above it the horse-like face of the 
young De Sinten. He hesitated at ap- 
proaching, but evidently thought that if 
they had wished to be alone they would 
not have taken the boys with them; so he 
jumped from his horse, and handing the 
reins ,to the groom, greeted them with a 
bow. 

"Good-morning," said Pani Elzen, a 
little dryly. " It's your hour?*' 

" Yes. In the morning I shoot pigeons 
with Wilkisbey; therefore I can't^ ride, as 
it might disturb my pulse. I have seven 
pigeons more than he already. Do you 
know that the Formidable is coming to 
Ville Franche to-day, and that day after 
to-morrow the admiral gives a ball on 
board of her?" 




On the Sunny Shore. 17 

''We haye seen her coming in/' 

*' I was just going to Ville Franche to 
see an oflScer^ a friend of mine^ but it's too 
late now. If you will permit, I will return 
with you to Monte Carlo." 

Pani Elzen assented by a nod of her 
head and they walked on together. Sin- 
ten, being a horseman by vocation, imme- 
diately began to talk about his hunter^ 
which he had been riding. 

"I purchased him from Waxdorf,*' said 
he. '* Waxdorf lost in trente et quara?iie 
and was in need of money. He played on 
inverse and he had met a series of six, but 
then the cards changed.'' Then he turned 
to the horse, saying: *' Pure Irish blood, 
and I bet my neck that there is no better 
hunter in the whole Cornishe, only he is 
difficult to mount." 

''Is he balky?" asked Swirski. 

" Once on his back he is as gentle as a 



18 On the Sunny Shore. 

child. He is already accustomed to me, 
but you could not mount him.*' 

Swirski, who in the matter of sport was 
very vain, said: 

*' Why notr 

** Better not brag, at least not here on 
the precipice/' exclaimed Pani Elzen. 

But Swirski was already near the horse, 
and in the twinkling of an eye was sitting 
in the saddle, without any resistance what- 
ever from the horse, which, though per- 
haps balky, thought it wouhl be better 
not to cut any fancy capers on the prec- 
ipice. 

The horse and rider in a short gallop 
disappeared at a turn of the road. 

" He is sitting quite well,'' said De Sin- 
ten, ^^but he will spoil my horse. Pre- 
cisely speaking, there are no roads here 
for riding." 

"Your horse proved to be very quiet," 
said Pani Elzen. 



==?■ 



On the Sunny Shore. 19 

** I am very glad of it, because I was 
afraid there would be an accident/' 

Ou his face, however, there was a look 
of embarrassment; in the first place, be- 
cause what he said about difficulties while 
mounting the horse looked like a lie, and 
then there was a certain antipathy between 
him and Swirski. 

It is true that De Sinten never had any 
serious plans in regard to Pani Elzen, but 
he preferred that nobody should interfere 
with those he had. Besides, a few days 
before there had been some bitter words 
exchanged between him and Swirski. Sin- 
ten, being an inveterate aristocrat, said 
once, during a dinner at Pani Elzen's 
hotel, that '^ according to his opinion the 
man begins with a baron.'* To that Swir- 
ski, who was in bad humor, asked: ^'On 
which side?'' The young man took this 
question very much to heart, and began 
to consult Pan Wiadrowski and Counselor 



20 



On the Sunny Shore. 



Eladzki as to how he should act. Then 
he learned, to his great astonishment, that 
Swirski had a princely crown in his coat- 
of-arms. The knowledge of Swirslci's ex- 
traordinary strength and his skill in the 
use of pistols pacified the baron's nerves 
in such a way that the angry words left 
only a dislike in both hearts. And then, 
since Pani Elzen seemed to prefer Swirski, 
this dislike became purely platonic. 

The painter, however, felt it the more 
of the two. Nobody thought that the 
whole affair would end in matrimony, but 
among acquaintances they began to talk 
about his sentiment for Pani Elzen. On 
his part he suspected that Sinten and his 
companions were laughing at him. It is 
true they did not betray themselves by 
even one word, but just the same Swirski 
thought so, and he resented it, principally 
for Pani Elzen's sake. 

Therefore he was glad that, thanks to 




On the Sunny Shore. 21 

the peaceful disposition of the horse^ Sin- 
ten appeared to be a man who^ even with- 
out any reason^ would say things not true; 
so on his return he said: 

"Very good horse, and he is good be- 
cause he is as quiet as a lamb/^ 

Then he dismounted and they walked 
on together. Pani Elzen, in order to get 
rid of Sinten, began to talk about art, of 
which the young sportsman had not even 
the slightest idea. But he preferred to 
tell them the gossip of the gambling 
establishment, and he also congratulated 
her on the good luck she had had last night. 
She listened with constraint, being ashamed 
to be told before Swirski that she had par- 
ticipated in the game. Her embarrass- 
ment increased all the more when Romulus 
said: 

^'Maman, you told us that you should 
never gamble. Give each of us a louis for 
it, will your 



> 



122 On the Sunny Shore. 

She answered as if not talking to any 
one personally: 

^' I was looking for the Counselor Eladz- 
ki to invite him to dinner to-day; then we 
enjoyed a little game/' 

'^Give each of us a louis/' repeated 
Bomulns. 

''Or buy us a small roulette/' added 
Bemus. 

"Don't tease me. Let us go to the 
carriage. Au revoir, Monsieur de Sinten. '* 

"At seven?" 

"At seven." 

Then they separated, and after awhile 
Swirski again found himself sitting beside 
the beautiful widow; but this time they were 
occupying the front seat, because they 
wished to look at the sunset. 

" They say that Monte Carlo is better 
sheltered than Men tone," said the widow; 
"but how it tires me! — this continual 
noise, the movement, and the acquaintances 



On the Sunny Shore. 23 

which one must unwillingly make. Some- 
times I wish I could run away from here 
and spend the rest of the winter in some 
quiet comer where I would see only people 
whom I wish to see. Which place do you 
like the bestr 

*^ I like St. Raphael very much.'' 

*' Yes, but it is so far from Nice/' she 
answered in a soft voice, ** and you have 
your studio in Nice." 

A moment of silence followed, then 
Pani Elzen asked again: 

" How about Antibes?" 

*^ That's true. I had almost forgotten 
Antibes." 

**It's so near Nice. You must stay 
after dinner; then we can decide which 
will be the best place to go to.*" 

He looked into the depth of her eyes 
and asked: 

" Would you truly like to escape from 
the people?" 



24 On the Sunny Shore. 

*^ Let us speak frankly/' she answered. 
'* In your question I feel a doubt. You 
suspect that I am talking in order to show 
myself better, or at least less superficial 
than I am. You are right to think that 
way, for you see me in the whirlpool of 
society continually. But I will say that 
very often one follows a certain movement 
only for the reason that he is pusbed in 
that direction against his will, and must 
bear the consequences of his previous life. 
As forme, maybe there is in me the feeble- 
ness of a woman, who, without somebod3r*s 
help, lacks energy? — granted. But it 
does not prevent me from longing very 
sincerely for some peaceful corner and 
quiet life. They may say what tliey 
please, but we are like climbing plants — 
when they can't climb they crawl on the 
ground; therefore the people are very 
often mistaken in thinking that we crawl 
voluntarily. By this crawling I under- 




On the Sunny Shore. 25 

stand merely an empty life without any 
higher thoughts. But how can I defend 
myself? Somebody asks his friend to be in- 
troduced to me, then he pays me a visit — 
the second, asks, and so on. What can I 
do? Refuse him? Why, no! Therefore 
I invite, but only for this reason, that the 
more people I have in my drawing-room 
the more they make themselves indiffer- 
ent, and in that way nobody can get an 
exclusive position.*' 

" You are right in that," said Swirski. 

'^ You see, in that way there is created 
a stream of worldly life, of which I can't 
get rid of by myself, and which often tires 
and disgusts me so much that I almost cry 
from weariness.'' 

"I believe you." 

"Yon ought to believe me; but you 
must believe this also — that I am better 
and less frivolous than I appear. When 
any doubts arise, or when people talk of 



26 On the Sunny Shore. 

me^ yon must think that I possess 
some good qualities. If you will not 
think that way I shall be very unhappy." 

"I give you my word that I always 
prefer to think the kindliest of you.'^ 

'' It ought to be 80^" she answered in a 
soft voice, ** because, even if everything 
that is good in me were deadened, it would 
regenerate in your company. It depends 
so much with whom one lives. I would 
like to say something, but I am afraid." 

"Tell me!" 

'^ But you mustn't accuse me of exalta- 
tion or of anything worse, for I am not 
exalted. I am talking as a well-balanced 
woman, who states only that which exists 
though wondering a little at the fact. Well, 
then, with you I find my perverse soul all 
quiet and sunny, the same as when I was a 
young girl, although to-day I am an old 
woman. I am thirty-five years old." 

Swirski looked at her with a beaming. 




On the Sunny Shore. 27 

almost enamoured face ; then he slowly 
raised her hand to his lips, after which he 

said: 

"Ah! beside me you are still a young 
girl, for I am forty-eight — here is my 
picture!*' 

Having said this he pointed with his 
finger to the sunset. 

And she looked toward that light, which 
was reflected in her radiant eyes; then she 
spoke softly, as to herself: 

"Great, marvelous, dear sun!" 

Then followed a silence, while a quiet 
red light fell on their faces. In fact, 
the great and marvelous sun was setting, 
and underneath it the light, transparent 
clouds shone like gold. 

Kear the shore the sea was plunged in 
shadow, but further out on the deep 
there was a great gleam, while beneath on 
the lilac background of the air the motion- 
less cypresses were standing out. 



28 



On the Sunny Shore. 



CHAPTER n. 

The guests invited by Pani Elzen gath- 
ered in the Hdtel de Paris at seven o'clock 
in the evening. They had given her a 
separate dining-room, with a small draw- 
ing-room attached, in which the coffee 
was served after the dinner. The lady 
announced ^^an informal affair," but the 
men did not know what to think about it, 
and they came in evening dress and white 
cravats. She was dressed in a pale-pink 
low-cut dress, and looked quite young and 
fresh with her delicate face and small 
head that so enchanted Swirski. Her 
ample shoulders were white and transpar- 
ent, like mother-of-pearl, while from her 
eyes beamed the happiness which she felt. 
Among the guests, besides Swirski anil 
De Sin ten, were the old Counselor Kladz- 




On the Sunny Shore. 29 

ki, with his nephew Zygmund, a young 
nobleman, not very polished, but auda- 
cious, whose eyes shone too brightly to 
suit Pani Elzen; Prince Walery Porzecki, 
a man forty years old, with a large 
face, bald head, and the pointed skull 
of an Aztec; Pan Wiadrowski, rich and 
malicious, owner of petroleum wells in 
Galicia, art lover and dilettante; and 
Kresowicz, a student and temporary tutor 
of Romulus and Remus. Pani Elzen had 
invited him because Swirski liked his 
fanatical face. 

The young hostess had always wished, 
and now more than ever, to have, as she 
expressed it, *'an intellectual salon/' But 
in the beginning she could not turn the 
conversation from local gossip and inci- 
dents of the gambling house which Wi- 
adrowski called '* Slav," reasoning that 
there one could hear more Slav spoken than 
any other language. Wiadrowski spent 



30 On the Sunny Shore. 

his time in Monte Carlo langhing at his 
own conntrymen and other younger Slav 
brothers. It was his hobby; therefore he 
began to tell that two days ago he had 
seen in Gercle de la M6diterran6e^ at six 
o^clock in the morning, only seven people, 
and all were Slavs. 

"We are bom that way,*' said he, turn- 
ing to the hostess. *' Other people count 
thus: Nine, ten, eleven, twelve, etc.; 
but every true Slav will say: Nine, ten, 
jack, queen, king. Yes! The cream of 
our society comes to Monte Carlo, and here 
one makes the cheese out of it.'* 

To that Prince Walery, with the pointed 
skull, pronounced, with the voice of a 
man who discovers unknown facts, that 
every abused passion is perilous, but that 
to Cercle de la M6diterran6e belong many 
distinguished foreigners whose acquaint- 
ance is valuable and useful. One can 
serve one's country everywhere. Three 



On the Sunny Shore. 31 

days ago he had met there an Englishman, 
Chamberlain's friend, and this English- 
man asked him abont Poland, and he, the 
prince, wrote him on a visiting card the 
political and economical situation in gen- 
eral and the social aspiration in particular. 
This card most assuredly will reach, if not 
Chamberlain's hands, because he is not 
here, at least Salisbury's, which will 
be still better. Probably they will meet 
Salisbury at the ball which the French 
admiral is going to give. During this 
ball the Formidable will be lighted d 
giorno with electricity. 

Kresowicz, who was not only consump- 
tive, but also a man who belonged to the 
red party, and hated the society in 
which, being the tutor of Romulus and 
Bemus, he was obliged to live, began to 
laugh sneeringly, like a hyena, on hearing 
about the visiting card. Pani Elzen, not 
wishing to pay any attention to him, said: 



32 On the Sunny Shore. 



f( 



At any rate, people here do marvels. 
I hear that the whole way from Nice to 
Marseilles will be lighted by electricity.*' 

"The engineer Ducloz was preparing 
snch a plan/' said Swirski, " but he died 
a couple of months ago. He was snch an 
enthusiastic electrician that in his will 
he asked to have his tomb lighted with 
electricity.*' 

" On his tombstone/' said Wiadrowski, 
*' he ought to have the inscription/ Eter- 
nal rest give him, Lord^ and may elec- 
tricity light him for ages on ages. 
Amen!'" 

But the old Counselor Eladzki scolded 
him for joking on serious things; then he 
attacked the whole Biviera. Everything 
here is pretext and Hague, beginning with 
the people and ending with things. Every- 
where one meets marquises, counts and 
viscounts, but one must look out that they 
do not steal the handkerchief from one's 



On the Sunny Shore. 33 

pocket. It is the same with comfort; in 
his office in Wieprzowiski one could pat 
five such small rooms as the one they give 
him in the hotel. The doctors sent him 
to Nice to get fresh air, and the Prome- 
nade des Anglais smells like a Jewish back- 
yard — his nephew Zygmund can testify to 
it. But Zygmund's eyes were looking at 
Pani Elzen's shoulders, and he did not 
hear anything. 

''You must go to Bordighieri/' said 
Swirski. '' The Italian dirt is artistic at 
least.*' 

'* But you are living in Nice, just the 
same.'* 

''Because I can't find a studio on the 
other side of Ventimigli. But if I should 
change I would go to Antibes.'' 

Here he looked at Pani Elzen^ who 
smiled and dropped her eyes. 

After a while, however, wishing to give 
to the conversation an artistic tendency. 



34 On the Sunny Shore. 

she began to talk about Rumpelmayer's ex- 
hibition and about some new pictures which 
she had seen two days ago, and which the 
French journalist Krauss called impres- 
sionisticO'decadants. Wiadrowski raised 
his voice and asked with the tone of 
Pyrron: 
"Who are decadants, anyhow?'* 
"One might say/' answered Swirski, 
" that they are people who prefer the dif- 
ferent sauces with which the art is served 
to the art itself/' 

But the Prince Porzecki was vexed at 
Kladzki's opinion of marquises^ counts 
and viscounts. " Even the rascals coming 
here belong to the higher species of ras- 
cals^ and they are not satisfied with steal- 
ing a handkerchief. One can meet here 
great pirates. But besides these there 
come here the most refined and richest 
people, and it is very proper that high 
finances meet here high birth, because in 



^ 



On the Sunny Shore. 35 

that way the world becomes polished! 
Pan Eladzki ought to read novels like 
'Idylle Tragique/ and he would persuade 
himself that besides suspicious characters 
one meets here those of the highest social 
rank — such as will be met with on the 
Formidable." 

They began to talk about *' Idylle Tra- 
gique.'' Young Eladzki, speaking about 
the hero of that novel, made a remark that 
he was stupid in giving up a woman for a 
friend, and that he, Eladzki, would not 
do it — not for ten friends — but would for 
his own brother. Wiadrowski interrupted 
him, the French novels being his other 
hobby: 

" What makes me very angry,*' said he, 
** is this selling of dyed foxes instead of 
natural ones. If those gentlemen are 
realists they must write the truth. Have 
they paid any attention to their lieroines? 
The tragedy begins by the lady fighting 



36 On the Sunny Shore. 

with herself and continuing to struggle 
most dreadfully through half the volume, 
and from the first page I know, so help me 
God, how it will end. How tedious it is, 
and how often it is repeated! I admit 
that fast women must be tolerated, and 
that they have certain rights to literature 
also, but they must not sell me a fast 
woman for a tragical princess, when I 
know that such souls have had lovers be- 
fore the tragedy began and will have them 
after the tragedy ends. They will struggle 
again as before and everything will finish 
in the same way. What a falsehood, what 
an atrophy of moral sense and the sense of 
verity! And to think that in our country 
they read, that they receive as good mer- 
chandise and accept as if they were dramas 
those farces of boudoirs — and that thev 
take them so seriously! In that way the 
difference between the honest woman and 
the fast woman diminishes; and the right 



On the Sunny Shore. 37 

of citizenship is given to cuckoos which 
do not have their own nests. Then such 
a French gilding is put on our dolls, and 
they do anything under the flag of such 
authors! In such books there are neither 
principles, characters, sentiment of duty, 
nor moral sense — nothing but false aspi- 
rations — a psychological conundrum !'* 
Wiadrowski was too intelligent not to 
understand that in talking in that way he 
was throwing a stone at Pani Elzen; but 
he was a thoroughly malicious man, and 
he spoke thus on purpose. Pani Elzen 
listened to his words with considerable 
dissatisfaction, although there was much 
truth in his speech. Swirski was anxious 
to answer him sharply, but he understood 
it would not be proper to take Wiadrow- 
ski's words as if he had referred to some 
one personally; therefore he preferred to 
take up the whole matter from another 
point of view. 



38 On the Sunny Shore. 

"As for me/' said he, "I have noticed 
that in French novels all women are 
sterile. Elsewhere, when two people are 
in love, in a legitimate or illegitimate way, 
the consequence of the love is a child, but 
here nobody has children. How strange 
it is! Because those gentlemen who write 
the novels think that the love can remain 
unpunished.*' 

"Such society! such literature!'* an- 
swered old Kladzki. " It is known that 
the population is diminishing in France. 
Among the higher classes a child is 



rare!'' 



''Mais c'est plus commode et plus ele- 
gant/' said Sinten. 

But Kresowicz, who had before sneered, 
now said: 

" It's the literature of slothful people, 
and it must perish with them." 

"What do you say?" asked Sinten. 

The student turned his passionate face 



On the Sunny Shore. 39 

to him: *' I say if s the literature of sloth- 
ful people/' 

^' Every class of people has its duty and 
its pleasures," said he. *' I have two pas- 
sions — ^politics and photography.'* 

The dinner was almost ended, and a 
quarter of an hour later they all passed to 
the little salon, where the coffee was 
served. Pani Elzen lighted a thin cigar- 
ette, and leaning comfortably in an arm- 
chair, crossed her feet. It seemed to her 
that a certain nonchalance ought to please 
Swirski, who was an artist and a Bohe- 
mian. 

But as she was comparatively short 
and had large hips, in the act of crossing 
her feet her dress was raised too high. 
Young Kladzki immediately dropped a 
match and began to search on the floor, 
and he continued looking for it so long 
that his uncle was obliged to whisper to 
bim angrily: 



40 On the Sunny Shore. 

"What do you imagine? Where are 
you?'' 

And the young nobleman stretched him- 
self and whispered back: 

"That's the trouble. I don't know 
where I am." 

Pani Elzen knew by experience that 
even well-bred men, when they have the 
smallest opportunity, become rough, espe- 
cially in the presence of women without 
protection. This time, it is true, she did 
not see young Kladzki's movement, but 
having noticed the disdainful and almost 
cynical smile with which he answered his 
uncle, she was sure he was talking about 
her. And she felt a contempt for all the 
company, with the exception of Swirski 
and Kresowicz, whom she suspected of 
being in love with her, notwithstanding 
his hatred for the women of her social 
rank. But she almost had an attack of 
hysterics that evening on account of Wia- 



On the Sunny Shore. 41 

drowski's talk^ because it seemed that he 
wished to poison her every spoonful of cof- 
fee in exchange for her good dinner. He 
spoke generally and apparently objectively 
about women^ not overstepping the limits 
of decency, bat at the bottom of his talk 
there was not only cynicism but also plenty 
of allusions to Pani Elzen's character and 
her social standing — and those allusions 
were oflfensive and very unpleasant, espe- 
cially in Swirski's presence, who suflfered 
very much on account of it. 

Therefore a load fell from her heart 
when finally the guests departed and the 
painter alone remained. 

"Ah!" she exclaimed, breathing deeply, 
"I feel the beginning of a headache, and 
I don^t know what is the matter with 
myself!" 

" Have they tired you?" 

" Yes, yes — more than tired!*' 

" Why do you invite them?" 



42 On the Sunny Shore. 

And, as if she could not control her 
nerves, she approached him feverishly: 

'* Sit down and do not move! I don't 
know — perhaps you will think ill of me, 
but I need it like medicine. That way! 
To remain that way with an honest man! 
That way!" 

Having said this she sat beside him, put 
her head on his shoulder, and closed her 
eyes. 

"Yes, only a moment that way! only a 
moment!" 

Suddenly her eyelids were moistened 
with tears, but she pressed Swirski's lips 
with her finger, in order to prevent him 
from speaking and in order to remain 
silent herself. 

His heart throbbed, being always as soft 
as wax when he saw a woman crying. He 
was pleased with the confidence she placed 
\n hiin. He understood that the decisive 




On the Sunny Shore. 43 

moment had come; therefore, encircling 
her waist with his arm, he said: 

" Remain with me forever; give me the 
right over you." 

Pani Elzen did not answer; only from 
her eyes fell big, quiet tears. 

"Be minel" repeated Swirski. 

Then she threw her hand on his other 
shoulder and nestled to him as a child 
nestles to its mother. 

And Swirski, having bent, kissed her 
forehead; then he began to wipe her tears 
with kisses, and gradually the flame was 
seizing him; after awhile he took her in 
his arms, pressed her to his breast, and 
touched her mouth .with his lips. 

But she defended herself. 

*'No! no r* she said breathlessly, "yon 
are not like the others. No! no! Have 
mercy!" 

Swirski held her in his arms; in that 
moment be was ejcactljr lij^e the others, 



44 On the Sunny Shore. 

bat happily for Pani Elzen a soft knocking 
at the door was heard. 

They separated immediately, jumping in 
opposite directions. 

" Who is there?'' asked Pani Elzen im- 
patiently. 

Kresowicz's gloomy face appeared in the 
doorway. 

'' Excuse me/' said he with trembling 
voice, " Romulus is coughing, and I am 
afraid he has the fever. I thought it 
would be proper to let you know aboat it." 

Swirski arose. 

'' Shall I go for a doctor?" 

But Pani Elzen had already recovered 
her coolness. 

''Thank you," said she; "if it be nec- 
essary we can send some oue from the 
hotel; but first I must see the child. 
Thank you! I must be going. There- 
fore, until to-morrow, thank you!"i 

Having said this, she stretched toward 




On the Sunny Shore. 45 

him her hand, which Swirski raised to his 
mouth. 

"Until to-morrow and every day, au 
revoir !" 

Pani Elzen, having remained with 
Kresowicz, looked at him inquiringly. 

" What is the matter with Romulus?'' 

He became still paler, and answered 
almost roughly: 

'^Nothingr 

" What do you mean?'' asked she, frown- 
ing. 

*' It means that you must chase me out, 
because I will become mad!" 

And he went out. 

Pani Elzen stood for awhile with the 
liglitning of anger in her eyes and with 
frowning eyebrows, but gradually her 
forehead became smooth. In fact, she 
was thirty-five years old, and here was a 
new proof that until now nobody could 
resist her charms. 



46 



On the Sunny Shore. 



After awhile she approached the mirror 
as if looking for an affirmation of that 
thought. 

In the meanwhile Swirski was returning 
to Nice in an empty railroad car, contin- 
ually raising to his face his hands, which 
were scented with heliotrope. He felt 
uneasy, though happy, and the blood 
rushed to his head when he smelled Pani 
Elzen's favorite perfume. 




On the Sunny Shore. 47 



CHAPTER ni. 

The next day, however, when he awak- 
ened his head was heavy, as if he had spent 
the night in drinking; and there waj3 a great 
uneasiness in his heart. When daylight 
falls upon the theatrical scenery, then that 
which during the evening looked enchant- 
ing appears to be a daub. The same hap- 
pens in life. Swirski had not met with 
anything unexpected, lie knew that he 
was drifting toward what happened the 
preceding night and that he must eventu- 
ally reacli it, but now when everything 
was ended, an incomprehensible fear seized 
him. He thought yesterday that he could 
retreat, but now it was too late. In vain 
he repeated to himself that there was no 




48 On the Sunny Shore. 

time for reasoning. Different objections, 
which he had made to himself, to Pani 
Elzen, and especially to marriage with 
her, returned to his mind with increased 
force. The voice which before whispered 
constantly into his ear, " DonH be an ass!'* 
now began to shout, "You are an ass!" 
And he could silence it neither by argu- 
ments nor by repeating "It is done!" 
because common sense said to him that a 
stupid thing had been done, and the cause 
of it was his feebleness. 

And at this thought he was ashamed. 
Were he a youngster he could excuse him- 
self by youth; had he just met this lady 
on the Biviera, and heard nothing about 
her, he would be justified, for he would not 
have known her character and her heart. 
It is true he had seen her seldom, but he 
had heard enough about her, because in 
Warsaw they talked about her more than 
about anybody else. They called her 



On the Sunny Shore. 40 

'* Wonder - wife/* and the local gossips 
used to sharpen their witty tongues on her 
as a knife is sharpened on a stone^ which, 
however, did not stop the men from crowd- 
ing her drawing-room. The women, al- 
though more hostile toward her, received 
her also, on account of numerous relation- 
ships by which she was bound to society 
people. Some of them, especially those 
who were interested that public opinion 
should not be too severe, even defended 
the beautiful widow. Others, less indul- 
gent, did not dare to close the door against 
her, because they did not wish to be the 
first in doing it. A certain local play- 
writer, hearing some one calling Pani 
Elzen a ^* demi-monde,'' said that she was 
neither '*the whole world nor half a 
world, but rather three-quarters of an hour 
into the world." But as in larger cities 
everything smoothes, therefore Pani El- 
zen's situation was smoothed also. Her 



60 On the Sunny Shore. 

friends used to say: ^*It's tme that one 
cannot ask from Helena extraordinary 
virtues, but she has her good sides/' And 
unknowingly they granted her the right 
to be more free than the others. Some- 
times they mentioned that before her hus- 
band's death she had not lived with him 
for several years; sometimes they muttered 
that she was bringing up Bomulus and 
Semus to be clowns, or that she did not 
care about them at all; were Pani Elzen 
less beautiful and less rich nobody would 
have paid any attention to sach malicious 
remarks. But the men did not restrain 
themselves in tlieir conversation about 
her. Even those who were in love with 
her attacked her through jealousy; the 
only silent one was he who appeared to be 
more lucky than the others. In general, 
however, the malignity went so far that 
they said that Pani Helena had one lover 
for her sojourn in the city during the 



On the Sunny Shore. 51 

winter and another for the summer sea- 
son. Swirski knew about all this. He 
knew even more than others, because a 
certain Mrs. Bronish, with whom he was 
acquainted in Warsaw, being a good friend 
of the beautiful widow, told him about 
some serious accident to Pani Elzen which 
terminated by a long illness. '^ God only 
knows how terribly poor Helena suffered, 
and it must be that in mercy it came 
beforehand, in order to preserve her from 
greater moral sufferings!" It is true that 
Swirski supposed that this "serious acci- 
dent " was purely a lie, but at any rate it 
waj3 impossible for him to have any illu- 
sions about Pani Elzen, or at least he 
could not believe she was the woman to 
whom one could safely trust one's hap- 
piness. 

Just the same, all this news excited his 
curiosity and attracted him toward her. 
Having heard about her sojourn in Monte 



52 On the Sunny Shore. 

Carlo^ he wished to meet her and know 
her better. As an artist he wished also to 
see for himself the charm by which this 
woman^ so generally slandered, bewitched 
the men. 

In the beginning he experienced only 
disillusion. She was beantiful and sensn- 
ally attractive, but he noticed that she 
was lacking in kindness and good will 
toward the people. The men interested 
her only so far as they stood in some rela- 
tion to her — were necessary to her. Beyond 
that she was as indifferent as a stone. 
Swirski did not notice in her any admira- 
tion for intellectual life, for literature, for 
art. She took from it what was necessary 
for her, giving nothing reciprocally. And 
he, as an artist and a thinking man, un- 
derstood perfectly that such a state of the 
soul betrays a barbarous and gross nature, 
notwithstanding all refined appearances. 
He had known such women before. He 



On the Sunny Shore. 53 

knew that they dominated the people by 
a certain strength, produced by determina- 
tion and a large, absolute egotism. About 
such beings they said very often when he 
was present: " She is cold but intelligent. '' 
But he always thought of such women 
with disdain. According to his judgment 
they were a species destitute of higher 
spiritual culture, and even common sense, 
because the common sense which 
wants everything for itself and does 
not grant anything to others the animals 
possess also. Equally in Pani Elzen, as 
well as in Bomulus and Semus, he saw the 
type in which culture begins and ends 
with the skin, leaving untouched the ple- 
beian and rougher depths. Besides that he 
was shocked by her cosmopolitanism. In 
fact, she was like a worn-out piece of 
money — it was difficult to distinguish to 
what country she belonged; Swirski was 
disgusted with it, not only because he 



54 On the Sunny Shore. 

looked differently on that question, but 
also as a man who was acquainted with 
really good society and knew that the best 
people in England, France, or Italy looked 
with disdain on those Nicean-cosmopolite 
weeds without roots. 

Wiadrowski was right in saying that 
Eomulus and Kemus were brought up as 
traveling salesmen or porters in big hotels. 
It was a well-known fact that Pani Elzen's 
father had a title, but that her grand- 
father was an overseer, and it appeared to 
Swirski, who possessed an appreciation of 
the ridiculous in a high degree, perfectly 
comical that the grandsons of an overseer 
not only did not speak good Polish, but 
imitated Parisians, and did not pronounc© 
the letter "r.** They were good-looking 
boys, even very good looking. Swirski, 
however, felt with his fine artistic sense 
that in those two bird-like skulls and bird- 
like faces the beauty was not something 



On the Sunny Shore. 55 

inherited for generations, but something 
accidental, some physiological accident, in 
consequence of being twins. And he re- 
peated to himself in vain that their mother 
was also beautiful: a sentiment always 
remained in him that the beauty did 
not belong either to the mother or to 
the sons, and that they were parvenus 
pecuniarily as well as morally and phys- 
ically. But longer contact with them 
weakened those impressions. 

Pani Elzen from the beginning of their 
acquaintance began to be attracted toward 
him and to favor him. He was worth 
more than her other acquaintances, he had 
a good name, he was rich and famous. 
It is true, he was not young, but Pani 
Elzen was thirty-five; besides that, his 
herculean stature couid replace his youth. 
Finally, to marry him meant to the woman 
about whom people talked sneeringly, the 
recovery of honor and moral position. 



56 On the Sunny Shore. 

True enoagh, she could see that it would 
be difScuIt to capture him, but she knew 
that he was good, and, like every artist, 
had a certain amount of naivete at the 
bottom of his soul; therefore Pani Elzen 
calculated that she would be able to bend 
him toward her. And she was guided 
not only by pure calculation: in a measure 
he let himself be attracted; he attracted 
her also. Finally she began to persuade 
herself that she was in love with him — she 
even believed it. 

And with him happened that which 
happens to many intelligent men. His 
common sense ended the moment the 
senses began to talk, or worse still, he went 
into their service, and instead of fighting 
them he was obliged to furnish them with 
arguments. In that way Swirski, who 
knew and understood everything, began to 
justify, soften, explain, defend. 

'* It's true," he said to himself, " that 



) 



On the Sunny Shore. 57 

neither her nature nor her conduct until 
now has given any guarantee, but who 
will prove to me that she is not tired of 
that life and that she is not longing of 
her whole soul after the other life? 
Without any doubt, in her conduct there 
is much coquetry, but who will guarantee 
that she does not display this coquetry 
because she loves me sincerely? It is 
childishness to imagine that a womau, 
although full of errors, does not possess 
any good qualities. Ah! the human 
soul — what a mixture! Only opportun- 
ities are necessary that the good may be 
developed and the bad disappear. Pani 
Elzen was no longer young. How 
stupid it would be to admit that there is 
no voice in her asking for a virtuous, 
quiet life, for peace, for tranquillity! 
Precisely on account of these reasons 
such a woman may appreciate an honest 
man who guarantees her all this.'^ 



68 On the Sunny Shore. 

Especially this last appeared to him very 
just and deep. Previously common sense 
had told him that Pani Elzen wished to 
catch him, but he answered now : '* She is 
right, because of every one, even the 
most ideal woman, who wishes to unite 
with a beloved man, one might say that 
she wishes to catch him!" 

The hope of having children tranquil- 
lized him in regard to the future. He 
thought that then she would love some 
one, and she would be obliged to break 
with the worldly, empty life, because she 
would not have time — and before the chil- 
dren would have grown up her youth 
would have passed, and then home would 
attract her more than the world. Finallv 
he said to himself: "The life must be 
arranged before old age comes; I will live 
a few years with a beautiful, interesting 
woman, with whom every day will be to 
me a holiday.'^ 




On the Sunny Shore. 59 

And those "few years '* were in fact the 
principal attraction for him. It is true 
to Pani Elzen there was something hu- 
miliating in the fact that he was not afraid 
of any extraordinary event, for the reason 
that she was no longer young, and there- 
fore the possibility would soon pass away. 
But he did not admit to himself that pre- 
cisely that thought was the foundation of 
his hope — and he deceived himself, as peo- 
ple always do in whom the common sense 
becomes the servant of the passions. 

But the man, after the previous night^s 
events, awakened with an uneasiness and 
disgust. He could not resist thinking 
about two things: In the first place, that 
if some one had told him a month before 
that he would propose to Pani Elzen, he 
would look on him as an ass; then, that 
the charm of the relation with her, and 
which consisted in uncertainty, in mutual 
guessing of looks and thoughts, in unfin- 



60 On the Sunny Shore. 

ished words, in suspended avowals and 
reciprocal attraction, was stronger than 
the one which was the consequence of the 
present change. It was more agreeable to 
Swirski to anticipate the betrothal than to 
become affianced, and just now he was 
thinking that if his pleasure in becoming 
a husband should become less in the same 
proportion as the pleasure of being affi- 
anced had diminished, then the deuce 
take such a life! There were moments in 
which the thought that he was bound, and 
that, willing or not willing, he would be 
obliged to take in his boat of life Pani 
Elzen, with Bomulus and Bemus, appeared 
to him almost unbearable. In those mo- 
ments, being a loyal man, he did not curse 
Pani Elzen, but he cursed Bomulus and 
Bemus — their rolling of the letter **r," 
their bird-like, narrow heads and bird-like 
skulls. 

*'I had my sorrows, but in fact I was 



-^ 



On the Sunny Shore. 61 

free as a bird, and could put my whole 
soul into the pictures/* he said so himself, 
"and now the devil knows how it will 
her 

Here the sorrows of the painter spoiled 
his humor altogether, altliough they gave 
another direction to his thoughts. Pani 
Elzen and the whole matrimonial affair 
began to retreat to the background, and 
the picture, "Dream and Death,'* came 
out to the foreground. He had been 
painting this picture for several months, 
and he considered it of great importance, 
because he proposed by it to protest against 
the generally accepted idea of death. Often 
in conversation with his friends Swirski 
was vehement against the Cliristianity 
which introduced the skeleton into life 
and art as a representation of death. To 
Swirski it appeared outrageous. The 
Greeks imagined Thanatos as a genius with 
wings, and they were right. What can be 



62 On the Sunny Shore. 

more ngly and more frightful than a skele- 
ton? Christians^ at leasts who in death see 
the gate to a new life, ought not to have 
painted it that way. According to Swir- 
ski this idea was born of the gloomy Ger- 
man spirit, the same which developed the 
majestic, grand, gothic style, but which 
is so gloomy, as if the church was not a 
passage to the light of heaven, but to sub- 
terraneous and hopeless precipices. Swir- 
ski was astonished that the renaissance had 
not reformed the symbol of death. If 
death were not an eternal silence, and would 
like to complain, it would say: " Why do 
people represent me by the figure of a 
skeleton? The skeleton is precisely the 
thing for which I do not wish and which 
I do not leave." Therefore in Swirski's 
picture the genius of sleep was gently 
offering the body of a girl to the genius of 
death, who, bending over her, blew 
out softly the flame of a small Lirap burn- 



On the Sunny Shore. 63 

ing above her head. Swirski while 
painting repeated to himself: '*It is neces- 
sary that the man who looks at it should 
say to himself before all: 'Ah! how quiet 
it is!^ " And he wanted this silence to flow 
on the spectator from the lines, from the 
figure, from the expression, from the col- 
oring. He thought also that if he could 
be able to produce this impression, and if 
the picture could explain itself, it would 
become a new and remarkable work. 

He cared about something more. Fol- 
lowing the stream of time, he agreed that 
painting must avoid literary ideas; he un- 
derstood, however, that there is a great dif- 
ference between giving up literary ideas and 
thoughtless reproduction of the exterior 
world as a photographic plate reproduces 
it. Shape, color, spot — nothing more! 
— as if the duty of a painter were to kill 
in himself the thinking being! And he 
remembered that every time he saw. 



64 On the Sunnv Shore. 

for instance, the pictures of the English 
painters, he was struck before all with the 
high intellectual level of those artists. 
One could see from their canvases that 
they were masters of high spiritual culture, 
very much developed psychically, think- 
ing deeply, often great students. In Poles 
he had seen something quite different. 
With the exception of several the majority 
of them were capable men, but thought- 
less, very little developed, and bare of 
education. They lived on old doctrinarian 
crumbs falling from French tables, not 
admitting for a moment that one can say 
anything original about art, to create it 
in the Polish way. It was clear to Swirski 
that the doctrine allowing them lack of 
thought was welcome to them. To be 
called an artist, but in the meanwhile to 
be a clown as far as it concerns the spirit, 
was a very comfortable thing. To read. 



On the Sunny Shore. 65 

to know, to think — ^to the deuce with such 
a work! 

Swirski believed that if even a landscape 
is a state of the soul, it is necessary that 
this soul should be not a soul of a peasant, 
but subtile, impressive, developed, worked 
out. He quarreled about that with his 
comrades and discussed passionately. ^^ I 
don^t ask from you," shouted he, " that 
you paint as well as do Frenchmen, Eng- 
lishmen, or Spaniards. I want you to 
paint better! before all, in your own way. 
And the one who does not strive for that 
ought to become a shoemaker!'* 

And he tried to prove that it does not 
matter if a picture represents a stack of 
hay, or hens scratching in the barnyard, 
or potatoes in the field, or horses in 
the pasture, or a corner of still water in a 
pond, the principal thing dominating 
everything in it must be the soul. There- 
fore in his portraits he tried to put as 



y 



66 On the Sunny Shore. 

much of his soul as he could; besides this 
he expressed himself in other pictures, the 
last of them being " Hypnos and Thana- 
tos/' 

The two genii were almost finished, 
but there were some diflBculties with the 
girl's head. Swirski understood that she 
must not only be beautiful but full of in- 
dividuality. There were plenty of pretty 
models, but they did not possess enough 
personality. It is true that Mme. Lageat, 
from whom he rented his studio, promised 
him to search for a good model, but she 
was very slow. A now model promised to 
come this morning, but had not put in an 
appearance, although it was already half- 
past eleven. 

All this, with last night's matrimonial 
proposition, was the reason that Swirski 
began to be disturbed, not only about his 
peace of mind, but also about his artistic 
future in general, and about his picture in 



On the Sunny Shore. 67 

particnlar. At that moment Hypnos ap- 
peared to him heavy, Thanatos stupid. 
Finally he said to himself that, as long as 
he was unable to work, it would be better 
to go to the shore, where the view of the 
water and the sun would brighten his 
thoughts and soul. 

But just at that moment, when he was 
ready to go out, the bell was heard in the 
antechamber, then two Scotch tartans, 
two bangs, and the two bird-like heads of 
Romulus and Remus appeared in his 
studio. Kresowicz, paler and gloomier 
than ever, followed them. 

"Good-morning, sir! Good-morning, 
sir!" shouted both boys. "Maman sent 
you these roses and begs you to come to 
luncheon." 

Then they began to run and look round 
the studio. They were very much sur- 
prised at the nude sketches; they stopped 
before them and elbowed each other. 




68 On the Sunny Shore. 

''Regarde r 

It made Swirski angry^ and he said, 
looking at his watch: 

"We must be going if we wish to have 
some luncheon/' 

He took his hat and they went out. As 
there were no carriages near the studio 
they walked. While walking the artist 
asked Kresowicz: 

"Well, how are your pupils 1^' 

Kresowicz turned to him, his ironical 
face full of hatred, and answered: 

" My pupils? They are all right. They 
are as healthy as fish, and their Scotch 
dresses are becoming to them. But I don't 
care about them.'' 

"Why?" 

"Because I am going to leave them 
to-morrow." 

"What is the matter?" asked Swirski, 



On the Sunny Shore. 69 

with some astonishment. ^^I did not 
know. It^s a pity!" 

" Not for them/' answered Kresowicz. 

"It must be for the reason that they 
cannot understand it." 

" They never will be able to understand 
— neither to-day nor any other time! 
never I" 

" I hope time will prove that you are 
mistaken/' answered Swirski dryly. "At 
any rate, I am sorry to hear it." 

But the student went on about himself, 

" Yes, it's a pity, but it's a pity to waste 
the time. They don't. need me, and I 
don't need them. They will be such as 
they will bo. The person who wishes to 
sow wheat must plow the soil, and the 
poorer it is the easier to plow it. One 
could say much about it, but it's not worth 
while, especially for me. Microbes will 
eat me up just the same." 

"You were never threatened with con- 



70 On the Sunny Shore. 

Bumption? Pani Elzen asked a doctor 
abont your healthy and he assared her that 
there was no danger/^ 

^' To be sure, there is no danger. And 
then 1 discovered a sare remedy against 
microbes." 

"What remedy have you discovered?" 

"It will be published in the papers. 
Such discoveries one does not hide under 
a bushel." 

Swirski looked at Eresowicz as if he 
wished to ascertain whether he had a fever; 
at the same time they arrived at the station 
which was swarming with people. 

The Nicean guests were going in the 
morning, as usual, to Monte Carlo. While 
Swirski was purchasing the tickets Wia- 
drowski perceived and approached him. 

" Good-morning!" said he. " To Monte 
Carlo r 

" Yes. Have you your ticket already ?" 

" I have a season ticket. We will be 



On the Sunny Shore. 71 

crowded in the train. It^s a true exodns 
isn't it? And everybody carries the wid- 
ow's mite. Good-moming, Mr. Kreso- 
wicz. What do you say about life here? 
Make some remark from the point of view 
of your party." 

Eresowicz began to blink his eyes as if 
he could not understand what they wanted 
from him; then he said: 

"I have joined the party of silent 
people." 

"I know, I know! Splendid party! 
The company is either silent or it ex- 
plodes." 

And he began to laugh. 

The bell for departure had rung and 
they were obliged to hasten. The shout- 
ing: '^En voiture I En voiture .'" sounded. 
In a moment Swirski, Kresowicz, Wia- 
drowski, and the two boys were in the 
train. 

" Look !" said Wiadrowski. *' We can't 



72 



On the Sunny Shore. 



even dream abont a seat. A true immi- 
gration!" 

In fact, there was a great crowd of every 
nationality: Poles, Russians, Englishmen, 
Frenchmen, Germans — all were going to 
conquer the bank, which every day re- 
pulsed and broke these crowds, as a rock 
breaks the waves of the sea. There were 
also numerous women scented with helio- 
trope. The sun lighted the artificial 
flowers on their hats, velvet, lace, artificial 
or real jewels, objects shining like polished 
armor on round bosoms, blackened eye- 
brows, faces covered with powder and 
animated by the hope of enjoyment and 
gambling. The most experienced eye was 
not able to distinguish the fast women 
from the society women. The men, with 
violets in their buttonholes, looked at 
those women inquisitively and imperti- 
nently, inspecting dresses, shoulders, faces, 
and hips with as cold blood as one looks 




On the Sunny Shore. 73 

on the things exhibited for sale in the 
shop windows. In this crowd there was 
haste and disorder. At certain moments 
the train rushed into the darkness of the 
tunnel; then again the snnlight^ the sky, 
the sea^ the palms^ the olive trees^ the 
villas shone m the windows^ and a 
moment after the darkness again 
covered everything. The stations passed 
one after another. New crowds of people 
squeezed into the train. They were ele- 
gantly dressed, refined, as if they were 
rushing to some great and joyful festival. 

''What a true picture of life!^' said Wi- 
adrowski. 

''What is a true picture?" 

"The train — I could philosophize about 
it until luncheon, but as I prefer to phi- 
losophize after luncheon, perhaps you will 
be willing to eat it with me." 

"No/' said Swirski, "you must excuse 
me; I am invited by Pani Elzen." 



74 On the Sunny Shore. 

" In that case I retreat!" 

And he began to langh. The thonght 
that Swirski might marry Pani Elzen did 
not enter his mind even for a moment. 
He was sure that the painter only cared 
for her the same as the others did^ but 
being a great admirer of artists in general 
and Swirski in particular, he was pleased 
that he was ahead of his competitors in 
her favor. 

^'I represent the wealth," he was think- 
ing. '^Porzecki title, the young Kladz- 
ki the youth, and Sinten the world of 
fashionable stupid chaps. All that, espe- 
cially here, carries a great weight, and 
the Dame aux Camelias has chosen him. 
At any rate, she has fine taste." 

And looking at the painter he began 
to mutter: 

*^ Jo iriumphe, tu moraris aureos 



currus" 



*' What do you say?" asked Swirski, who 




On the Sunny Shore. 75 

did not hear well on account of the noise 
of the train. 

" Nothing. Some hiccoughs from Ho- 
ratius. I saj^ as you refuse^ I will give a 
consolation luncheon to myself^ De Sin- 
ten, Porzecki, and Kladzki.*' 

" May I ask you for what you wish to be 
consoled?'^ asked Swii*ski^ approaching 
swiftly and looking into his eyes almost 
threateningly. 

" For the loss of your company," coolly 
answered Wiadrowski. *'And what did 
you suppose, my dear sir?" 

Swirski bit his lips and said nothing. 
But he thought that the proverb, '^The 
cap always burns on the head of a thief," 
was right — because if he were going to 
marry an honest girl he never would sup- 
pose that any one speaking ironically was 
thinking about her. 

When they arrived, Pani Elzen, fresh, 
young and beautiful, was waiting at the 



76 On the Sunny Shore. 

station. Evidently she had just come^ be- 
cause she breathed deeply and her face was 
flushed as with emotion. Therefore, when 
she stretched both her hands to Swirski, 
Wiadrowski thought: 

'^ Yes! he has beaten us all. She looks 
to be really in love.*' And he looked on 
her almost with sympathy. In a white 
flannel dress, with shining eyes, she seemed 
to him, notwithstanding some powder on 
her face, as young and charming as ever. 
For awhile he regretted he was not that 
happy mortal whom she came to greet; 
and he thought that the method by which 
he had tried to gain her favor, consisting 
in telling her hard things, was stupid. But 
he consoled himself with the thought that 
he could laugh at Sinten and others who 
were beaten. 

After the greeting Swirski thanked her 
for the roses, but she was listening with 
some embarrassment, looking from time 




On the Sunny Shore. 77 

to time at Wiadrowski, as if she were 
ashamed that he heard those thanks. 

As for him, he understood that it would 
be best for him at present to leave 
them. But they went together in the lift 
to the heights on which the gambling 
house and the gardens are situated. On 
the way Pani Elzen entirely regained her 
self-possession. 

*'Letus have luncheon! Let us have 
luncheon!" she said joyfully. ^' I have an 
appetite like a whale." 

Wiadrowski muttered that he would 
like to be Jonah, but he did not say it 
aloud, thinking that Swirski might 
seize him by the collar of his coat and 
throw him from the lift, as the joke de- 
served. 

In the garden he took leave of them and 
departed; but looking backward he 
perceived Pani Elzen leaning on Swirski^s 
arm and whispering something to him. 



78 On the Sunny Shore. 

^' They are speaking about dessert after 
the breakfast!'^ thought he. 

But he was mistaken^ because she^ turn- 
ing her charming face toward the painter, 
whispered: 

"Does Wiadrowski know?" 

"No," answered Swirski, "I only met 
him in the train." 

Having said this, he felt some uneasi- 
ness that Pani Elzen is speaking about 
betrothals, and that it would be necessary 
to tell everybody about it, but in the mean- 
while her beauty and charms began to act 
upon him in such a way that he became 
courageous. 

They had luncheon together with Rom- 
ulus, Remus, and Kresowicz, who during 
the whole time did not say a word. After 
the coffee Pani Elzen gave the boys per- 
mission to go witli the young man in the 
direction of Rocca Brune, and then she 
asked Swirski: 



i 



On the Sunny Shore. 79 

" Do you prefer to take a walk or ride?'* 

He would prefer to go to her apartment 
and pause there at least ''halfway to 
paradise*' — and obtain "at least half -sal- 
vation '' — but he thought that if she did 
not wish it it was the best proof of how 
earnestly and nobly she looked on their 
relation, and that he ought to be grateful 
for it. 

^' If you are not tired I prefer to walk/^ 
answered he. 

*'Very well. I am not tired at all. 
But where shall we go? Would you like 
to look at the pigeon shooting?" 

'* Willingly. But there we will not be 
alone. I am sure Sinten and young 
Kladzki are practicing after breakfast." 

"Yes, but they will not bother us. 
When there is a question about pigeons 
they become blind and deaf to everything 
around them. And then let them see me 
with my great man!" 



80 



On the Sunny Shore. 



And bending her head she looked into 
his eyes, smiling. 

" But perhaps the great man does not 
wish itr 

"On the contrary, let them see us!^' 
answered Swirski, raising her hand to his 
lips. 

** Let us go, then. I like to look at it." 

"Very well." 

And in a moment they were on the large 
stairs leading to the shooting club. 

" What a light here, and liow happy I 
am!" said Pani Elzen. 

Then, although there was nobody there, 
she asked liim in a whisper: 

"And you?" 

"My light is with me!" answered he, 
pressing her arm to his breast. 

And tliey began to descend. In fact 
the day seemed to be brighter than ever; 
the air was golden and blae; the sea in the 
distance looked like lapis lazuli. 



i 



On the Sunny Shore, 81 

" Let us stop here/' said Pani Elzen. 
** From here we can see the cages/^ 

Under their feet stretched a large 
green lawn, running out to the sea. The 
cages with pigeons were disposed on it in 
a half -circle. Each moment one of 
them opened suddenly,*the frightened bird 
flew, then the shot resounded, and the 
pigeon fell either on the grass or into the 
sea, where on the waves small boats with 
fishermen were expectantly waiting for the 
prey. 

It sometimes happened, however, that 
the pigeon was missed; then he flew to- 
ward the sea, and, having made a circle, 
returned, looking for shelter in the cor- 
nices of the Casino. 

" From here we don'tgsee who shoots," 
mirthfully said Pani Elzen; "therefore 
let us tell our fortune: If the first pigeon 
falls down we remain in Monte Carlo; if 
he flies away we will go to Italy." 



82 On the Sunny Shore. 

'^So be it/^ said Swirski. ''Let us 
look! There he isV 

In fact the cage was opened^ and*at that 
moment the pigeon^ as if stunned^ re- 
mained on the spot. They forced him 
to fly, by rolling on the grass toward 
him a wooden ball, and then the shot was 
heard. But the bird did not fall imme- 
diately. In the first place he had risen 
very high in the air, then he flew directly 
to the sea, coming down gradually, as if 
wounded. Finally he disappeared in the 
blaze of the sun. 

" Maybe he fell down, maybe not. The 
future is uncertain,'* said Swirski, laugh- 
ing. 

But Pani Elzen moved her lips like an 
angry child: 

'* It's this horrid Sinten," said she. *' I 
bet it was he. Let us go down.'* 

And they descended nearer and nearer 
to the shooting gallery. Pani Elzen 



On the Sunnj^ Shore. 83 

stopped at every shot. In her white dress, 
on the background of green she looked 
like a statne. 

"There is no other material which 
makes as pretty drapery as flannel/' said 
Swirski. 

"Ah, those artists !'' answered the young 
woman. 

And in her voice there was some irony, 
for she felt offended that at that moment 
Swirski should be thinking about dra- 
peries and different fabrics instead of her. 

"Let us be going!'* 

A few moments later they were in the 
shooting gallery. Of their acquaintances 
only Sinten was there, shooting with some 
Hungarian count, both dressed in brown 
English coats, with caps of the same color, 
Scotch stockings, both very distinguts 
and with faces as expressive as that of a 
stupid ass. But it was as Pani Elzen said 
— Sinten was so busy shooting that he did 




84 On the Sunny Shore. 

not notice them at once^ and only after a 
long wait did he come to greet them. 

'*How is your luck?'* asked the lady. 

" I shall beat! I am sure I will win.^' 
Hero he turned to Swirski: *' Don't you 
shootr 

"I do, but not to-day.'' 

''As for me/' answered Sin ten, looking 
significantly at Pani Elzen, " I am to-day 
heureux aujeii!" 

They called him to the shooting. 

" He wanted to say that he was unhappy 
in love," said Swirski. 

'' Imbecile! Could it be diflferent?" 

But notwithstanding those words of 
censure, one could see by the face of the 
beautiful lady that she was not offended, 
that in Swirski's presence they gave testi- 
mony to her personal popularity. 

It was not the last testimony that day. 

''I wished to ask you about something," 
said Swirski after a short silence, '' but I 



On the Sunny Shore. 85 

could not do it in the presence of the 
children and Kresowicz, who told me that 
he was going to leave. Is it true?'* 

*' It's true/' answered Pani Elzen. '* In 
the first place^ I am not sure of his health. 
A few days ago I made him go to see the 
doctor, who informed me that he was not 
threatened with consumption; otherwise 
I wouldn't' keep him an hour; but at 
any rate he looks worse every day; ho is 
whimsical, irritable, often unbearable. 
That's the first reason; then you know his 
tendencies — I know they will not stick to 
Romulus and Remus. I bring up the boys 
in such a way that they would not care for 
the ideas of the red party. But I don't 
wish them even to know that such 
principles exist — that they meet such 
hatred toward the class of people 
among whom they live. It was suflScicnt 
for me that you wished them to speak 
with somebody in their own language. It 



86 



On the Sunny Shore. 



was for me almost a command. I under- 
stand that they ought to know their own 
language. Now the people are insisting 
upon it, and I agree they are right. But 
even in that Kresowicz is opinionated. *' 

"I shall miss him! Around the eyes 
he has certain wrinkles which signify 
fanaticism; but his is an interesting face 
though he is a very peculiar man.^' 

''The painter is talking through yon 
again/' said Pani Elzen, laughing. 

But after awhile she became sober and 
even somewhat embarrassed. 

''I have one reason more/' said she. 
''It's unpleasant to speak about, but I 
must tell you, because with whom should 
I be sincere if not with my — ^great man — 
who is so dear and good, who is able to be 
indulgent in everything? Well, then, I 
noticed that Kresowicz lost his head and 
fell in love with me, and under those cir- 
cumstances he couldn't remain near me/' 




On the Sunny Shore. 87 

"What? This one also?" exclaimed 
Swirski. 

*'Yes!" answered she, dropping her 
eyes. 

And she tried to simulate that this con- 
fession was unpleasant for her, but all the 
same, as at Sinten's words a smile of satis- 
fied self-love and womanly vanity passed 
over her face. Swirski noticed it, and an 
unpleasant, angry feeliug filled his heart. 

** Then I am also struck by the epidem- 
ic," said he. 

She looked at him for awhile and then 
asked quietly: 

" Was that said by a jealous or an un- 
grateful man?" 

But the painter answered evasively: 

"You are right. Kresowicz ought to 
leave." 

"I will pay him to-day." 

Then they were silent. Sinten and the 
Hungarian count's shooting was heard. 



88 On the Sunny Shore. 

Swirski, however, could not pardon 
that smile he had noticed. "It is true," 
he said to himself, "that Pani Elzen acted 
with Kresowicz as she ought to, and that 
there is no reason to be irritated." But 
he was irritated just the same. Some 
time ago, at the beginning of their ac- 
quaintance, he had seen her riding on 
horseback; she was in the lead, followed by 
Sinten, Kladzki, Porzecki, Wilkisbey, and 
Waxford. This cavalcade made a very 
bad impression on Swirski, an impression 
of a kind of beastly run of males after a 
female. The same picture now stood in 
his memory, and his impressionable artistic 
nature suffered considerably. " Precisely 
speaking," he said to himself, " everybody 
runs after her, and in case I fall over some 
obstacle she will be reached by the next 
oner 

Pani Elzen interrupted his reflections; 
she complained that she was cold there in 




On the Sunny Shore. 89 

tho shadow, and said that she wished to 
warm herself in the sun. 

" Let us go to the hotel — you can take 
your jacket," said he. 

They started on their return to the upper 
terrace, but when halfway on the stairs 
she stopped suddenly. 

" You are not satisfied with me," said 
she. ^^ Of what am I guilty? What have 
I done to displease you?^' 

Swirski had become quieter while walk- 
ing, and answered: 

'^You must excuse an old crank. I 
beg your pardon." 

Pani Elzen wanted to know by all means 
why he was sad, but she could not make 
him talk. Then, half-seriously and half- 
jokingly, she began to complain against 
artists. What a strange and unbearable 
people they are I — shocked by any trifle, they 
shut their impressions within themselves, 



90 On the Sunny Shore. 

and then escape to their solitary studios. 
To-day three times she noticed the painter 
in him. Thafsbad! Therefore, for a pun- 
ishment, this unbearable painter must 
stay with her until evening for dinner. 

But Swirski said that he must return to 
Nice; then he spoke to her about his trou- 
bles as an artist, about difficulties in find- 
ing a model for *' Dream and Death,'' 
and about the hope of success he had in 
this picture. 

"I see,'* answered the young widow, 
smiling, ^^ that I shall always have a fright- 
ful rival in art.'* 

*' It's not the rival," answered Swirski. 
" If s God, whom you will serve with me." 

The pretty lady frowned at that, but in 
the meanwhile they arrived at the hotel. 
That day Swirski went three-thirds of the 
way to paradise, and left his pretty widow 
with shivers of delight in his bones, but 



On the Sunn}' Shore. 91 

with conviction that only matrimony wonld 
open the gate. 

His brain having cooled^ he was grateful 
to Pani Elzen; she inspired him with such 
a conviction. 



92 



On the Sunny Shore. 



I 



CHAPTER IV. 

Pani Elzen, before she began to dress 
for dinner, called Kresowicz in order to 
pay him, which she did with a certain 
curiosity, anxious to know how he would 
bid her good-by. She had seen so many 
commonplace people, who appeared as if 
cut by the same tailor according to the 
same measure, that this odd young 
fellow excited her curiosity; and now, 
when he was about to depart with bleeding 
heart, he interested her a great deal more. 
She was sure that his passion would be 
shown in some way, and she even wished 
for it, promising to herself, not very sin- 
cerely, however, to stop it with a look or 
word, if he should overstep certain bounds. 



On the Sunny Shore. 93 

But Kresowicz when he entered her 
room was cold and threatening, and his 
face was other than that of a person enam- 
oured. Pani Elzen, having glanced at 
him, thought that Swirski, being an artist, 
was right in having noticed that head, 
which really had something exceptional 
in its expression. Its lines were iron-like, 
in which the will was stronger than the 
intelligence, giving to them in a certain 
degree a stubborn expression. Swirski 
had noticed for a long time that he was 
one of those men who, if they seize some 
idea, their faith will never be disturbed by 
skepticism, and never a doubt will shake 
their ability for action, because with a 
stubborn and strong character goes a cer- 
tain narrowness of the mind. Fanaticism 
grows only on such a field. Pani Elzen, 
nothwithstanding her cleverness, was too 
superficial to be able to recognize that. 
Kresowicz would have attracted her atten- 




94 On the Sunny Shore. 

tion if he were an exceptionally good- 
looking boy, but as he was not, therefore 
in the beginning she treated him like an 
ordinary object, and only Swirski had 
taught her to think about Jiim differently. 
Just now she received him kindly, and, 
after having paid him she said, with a 
cold and indifferent voice, but with well- 
chosen words, that she was very sorry that 
on account of her departure from Monte 
Carlo she would be obliged to dismiss him. 

Kresowicz mechanically put the money 
into his pocket and answered: 

•'I told you myself yesterday that I 
would not teach Homulas and Hemus any 
longer.^' 

^* Exactly — it comforts mel" she said, 
raising her head. 

Evidently she wished, at least in the 
beginning, to hold the conversation in a 
ceremonious tone, and obliged Kresowicz 
to speak in the same way. But to look at 



On the Sunny Shore. 96 

him one could see that he had an unbended 
determination to tell everything he had to 
tell. 

" You paid me with good money,'* said 
he; "you mustn't now give me any coun- 
terfeit." 

" What do you mean?*' 

"I mean this/' he said vehemently, 
'^ that you neither dismissed me on account 
of your departure nor do I quit for the 
same reason. The cause is quite different, 
and you know it as well as I do." 

" If I know it, it's probable that I don't 
wish either to hear or to talk about it," said 
she haughtily. 

He advanced a step toward her, holding 
up his threatening head. 

'^ But you must hear it!" said he em- 
phatically. " In the first place, because 
in a moment I will be gone away; then, 
on account of the other reason, about which 
you will learn to-morrow." 



4 



96 On the Sunny Shore. 

Pani Elzen rose from her chair, and 
with frowning eyebrows and in the theat- 
rical pose of an offended qneen, she said: 

'* What do vou mean?^^ 

He approached nearer, until his face 
was only a few inches from hers, and 
began to talk with concentrated energy: 

*^It means that I ought to have hated 
you and your sphere, and I fell in love 
with you. It means that for you I com- 
mitted in my conscience a crime, for 
which I shall punish myself. But precise- 
ly for this reason I have nothing to lose, 
and you must pay me for my wrong, other- 
wise something dreadful will happen." 

Pani Elzen was not frightened, because 
she did not fear men at all. She was as- 
tonished, and at once uttered an exclama- 
tion of amazement: 

''Mais c'est un vrai oiseau de proie, 
which may tear me into pieces!*' For that 
adventurous woman^ familiar with corrup- 



On the Sunny Shore. 97 

tion^ any adventure especially flattering 
to her womanly selfishness had a great 
charm. To all that her moral sense was 
not afraid of trifling. Had Kresowicz be- 
seeched her for one minnte of happiness^ 
for permission to kiss the edge of her 
dress with humility^ with tears and on 
his knees^ she would have ordered him to 
be thrown ont. But this threatening and 
almost crazy man, who represented a sect 
about whose fearful energy they told dread- 
ful stories in society, appeared to her 
demon-like — so different from other peo- 
ple, something so out of the ordinary that 
she wa« simply in an ecstasy of delight. 
Her nerves were longing after something 
new. She thought if she resisted the ad- 
venture might assume unforeseen dimen- 
sions and turn into a scandal, for the crazy 
man was ready for anything. 

Kresowicz spoke further, breathing in 
her face his warm respiration: 



1)8 On the Sunnv Shore. 

"I love, and I have nothing to losel 
I lost my health and my future, and I 
committed a base action! I have nothing 
to lose! Do you understand? I don't care 
if ten or a hundred people rush here if you 
give an alarm. But you won't do it. 
After that I will go away and the secret 
will never be revealed — I swear!'^ 

Pani Elzen cared only to save appear- 
ances, which with womanly hypocrisy she 
always tried to preserve — in order to deceive 
herself. 

Therefore, turning toward him eyes full 
of artificial fight, she asked: 

" Do you wish to kill me?*' 

"I want to be paid, but not with money!" 
he answered in a choked voice. 

Then he became paler; he seized her 
and hugged her. She defended herself, 
but she did it like a fainting woman, from 
whom fright has taken all consciousness 
and strength. 




On the Sunny Shore. 



99 



CHAPTER V. 

When Swirski arrived at Ville Pranche 
he alighted from the carriage and went to 
the harbor^ because the idea came to him 
to return to Nice in a boat. He found a 
fisherman with whom he was acquainted, 
and who, being pleased to see his liberal 
customer, agreed with Ligurian boastf ul- 
ness to go with him ^* even to Corsica, and 
though the sirocco should turn the bottom 
of the sea/' 

This time there -was only a question of 
a small trip, so much easier because there 
was not even the slightest wind. Swirski 
sat at the helm and they began to glide 
over the polished deep. After awhile, 
having passed the luxurious private yachts. 



• • • 



100 On the Sunny Shore. 

they approached the ironclads, whose 
quiet, enormous black bodies were out- 
lined harshly and prominently in the 
southern sun. The deck of the Formida- 
ble was already decorated with multi- 
colored lanterns for the morrow^s ball, to 
which Swirski was to be invited. The 
sailors on board of the monster looked like 
pigmies compared to the dimensions of 
the vessel. The iron sides of the man-of- 
war, smokestacks, masts, were all reflected 
in the transparent waters as in a mirror. 
From time to time a military boat, looking 
like a black worm, moving its feet regu- 
larly, passed among the ironclads. Be- 
yond the vessels was an empty space, 
where the boat in which Swirski was sit- 
ting rose and fell with a broad and 
gentle movement. They approached 
higli rocks to the right of the wharf, along 
which ran a gray, dusty road; further on 
was tlie piiradc groinul, where the soldiers 



^ 



On the Sunny Shore. 101 

drilled and practiced military maneuvers. 
Finally, having passed the cliflf, round 
which the waves coming from the sea were 
splashing, they emerged on to the open 
waters. 

Outside a seaport there is always some 
breeze; therefore the fisherman began to 
spread the sail, and Swirski, instead of 
directing toward Nice, turned the boat 
toward the sea. And as they proceeded 
straight ahead, balanced by the waves, the 
sun went down. The rocks and the sea 
turned crimson. Everything around was 
tranquil, quiet, and so gigantic that the 
thought came to Swirski: How small and 
paltry is life compared with the infinity 
which surrounded him at that moment! 
He felt as if he had left all his own and 
other people's affairs and had gone far, far 
away. Pani Elzen, Romulus, Remus, all 
acquaintances and the people swarming 
on the shore, full of life^ uneasiness^ 



102 On the Sunny Shore. 

mean ambition and low passions, became 
smaller to him. And being a man accus- 
tomed to digest and analyze his thoughts 
and impressions, he was afraid that if he 
were really in love with Pani Elzen her 
image would not have been thus veiled, 
disturbed, diminished, and would never 
have disappeared. Swirski recollected 
how once, after the wedding of a woman 
with whom he was in love to another, he 
had left his country. For the first time 
then he saw Eome, Sicily, the sea, the 
shores of Africa — and none of those im- 
pressions could erase the image of 
the beloved woman. In the galleries, 
on the sea, and in the desert she 
was with him, and he felt everything 
through her, and everywhere he spoke to 
her as if she were present. The difference 
between those former years and to-day 
made him sad. 
But the quietude of the evening and of 



On the Sunny Shore. 103 

the sea pacified him. They went so far 
that the shore began to disappear. Then 
the sun set and the stars began to shine 
one after another. The dolphins, which 
by twilight like to swim around a boat, 
breaking the surface of the deep with their 
sharp backs, disappeared and everything 
was quiet. The surface of the water be- 
came so smooth that the sail hung flat. 
Finally the moon appeared from behind 
the mountains and bathed the sea with a 
greenish light as far as the limits of the 
horizon. A quiet, fair southern night 
began. c 

Swirski wrapped himself in the fisher- 
man's pelerine and began to think. "Every- 
thing that surrounds me is not only beau- 
tiful but true also. Human life, if it is 
to be normal, must be inoculated on the 
trunk of nature — must grow from it as a 
branch grows from the tree and exists on 
the strength of the same laws. Then it 



104 On the Sunny Shore. 

will be trae and morale becaase in fact 
morality is nothing else than the harmony 
of life with the general laws of nature. 
Here I am surrounded by simplicity and 
quietude; I understand it only as an artist^ 
for I don't have them in myself as a man, 
because my life as well as the life of those 
people among whom I live is far from na- 
ture — it ceases to be governed by its laws 
and has become a lie. Everything in us 
is artificial. We have lost even the senti- 
ment of natural laws. Our relations are 
based on falsehood, we have crooked minds, 
sick souls and passions. We deceive each 
other and ourselves, and finally nobody is 
sure whether he really wishes that which 
he wants or whether he is able to do that 
which he wishes.'* 

And at once, in the presence of the con- 
trast of that night, of the infinity of the 
sea, of the stars, of the whole of nature, of 
its peacefulness, simplicity and might, a 



f 



On the Sunny Shore. 105 

sentiment of a gigantic lie in everyday 
relations seized him. This love for Pani 
Elzen appeared to him to be a lie; her 
relation to him a lie^ to the children^ to 
other men, to the world; this life on the 
snnny shore, the present and his own 
f atare a lie. 

"It surrounds me like a net/' he 
thought, " and I don't know how to escape 
from itr' And in fact it was true, because 
if the whole life is a lie then what shall 
one do? Return to nature? Begin some 
kind of wild, half -peasant life? Break 
with people and tarn reformer? Swirski 
felt that he was too old and too skeptical 
for that. For that, it would be necessary 
to have Kresowicz's dogmatism and feel 
the evil in order to get a stimulant for 
reform and strength for the fight, and not 
look at it as an impression which may be 
weakened to-morrow! 

But another thought came to Swirski, 



106 On the Sunny Shore. 

One who does not feel strong enongh to 
reform the world can escape from it for a 
certain time and rest. To-morrow he 
coald be in Marseilles, and a couple of 
days after somewhere else, perhaps on the 
ocean, hundreds of miles from the shore — 
from sickly life, from its lies and swindles. 
In that way everything would be untied, 
or rather cut as with a knife. 

And at one moment he was seized with 
such a desire to turn this thought into a 
deed that he ordered the boatman to return 
to Nice. 

**An animal seeing that he is in a net,*' 
thought he, '^ before all else tries to dis- 
entangle himself from it. It's the first law 
and it's in harmony with nature; there- 
fore it's moral. Pani Elzeu alone is not 
my net. It's everything taken together. 
But at the same time I feel that if I marry 
her I would marry the life of the lie. Even 
perhaps it would not be her fault, but the 



i 



On the Sunny Shore. 107 

necessity of things — and it's always per- 
mitted to escape from such landscapes.*' 

Here he began to imagine other land- 
scapes, which he was going to see in his 
flight: vast expanses of water and saud, 
unknown countries and peoples, the sin- 
cerity and truth of their primitive life, 
finally the variety of incidents and the 
great difference between the future and 
present days. 

'^ I deserved it a long time ago!" he said 
to himself. 

Then another thought came to his mind 
— a thought which may come only to an 
artist — that wlien one " giyeshis JiaJicce the 
cold shake" and goes, for instance, to 
Paris, such a deed would constitute suita- 
ble groundwork for ^'bad literature," but 
if one escapes somewhere as far as the 
equator, where the pepper grows, the fact 
of j escaping becomes smaller compared 
with the great distance — the act creates a 



108 On the Sunny Shore. 

different impression, looks more original^ 
and is more fashionable. 

'*And I shall go," thought he, " deuced- 
ly far!" 

In the meanwliile Nice appeared to him 
in the form of a rope of lights. In the 
middle of this rope the building called 
'* Jet6e-Promenade " shone like a gigantic 
lantern. In proportion as the boat, pro- 
pelled by a strong wind, approached the 
wharf, each of those lights changed into a 
fiery pillar shivering on the moving line 
of the shore. The sight of those lights 
made Swirski sober. 

*^The city!— and the life!" thought he. 
And at once all his previous projects 
began to disappear like nightmares, bom 
of the emptiness and the night. That 
which awhile ago he considered right, easy 
and necessary to be executed, seemed to 
him now to be a fancy, bare of common 
sense and even dishonest, ''No matter 



{ 



On the Sunny Shore. 109 

what is the life, one mnst be caref al. One 
who has lived ander its laws as long as I 
have lived must feel that he is obliged to 
respect those laws. It's not difficult to 
say to one's self: ' I used them as long as 
they were useful to me;* but the moment 
I am bothered I return to nature. '* 

Then he began to think hard — not about 
general theories, but about Pani Elzen. 

'^ By what right should I leave her? If 
her life was artificial and false, if her past 
is not clear, I have known about it and 
was not obliged to propose. Now I would 
be right to break with her only if I had 
discovered in her some evil which she had 
concealed from me, or if in some way she 
were guilty toward me. But she is not 
guilty at all. She was honest and sincere 
with me. At any rate there is something 
in her which attracts me toward her; 
otherwise I would not have proposed. 
There are moments in which I feel that I 



110 On the Sunny Shore. 

am in love with her> and if sometimes 
some doubts arise in me why should she 
suffer for it? My flight would at least 
wrong her." 

He understood that for a decent man to 
think about flight, and to accomplish it, 
were two opposite extremes. He could 
only dream about it. Rather he would 
ask Pani Elzen to give him back his word. 
But to escape the danger — it would be a 
thing unworthy of his personal character 
and his thoroughly civilized race. Finally 
the thought that he would wrong Pani 
Elzen filled him with sorrow and she 
became dearer to him. 

They reached the wharf and in a few 
minutes landed. He paid the fisherman, 
took a cab, and ordered the coachman to 
drive him to his studio. On the street, 
amid the noise, lights and movement, ho 
was again seized by a longing after the 




On the Sunny Shore. Ill 

solitude, after that infinity of the waters, 
after that tranquillity and that great God's 
truth with which he had departed awhile 
before. Finally when near the studio the 
following thought came to his mind: 

'at*s strange,'' thought he, "that I, 
who was 80 much afraid of women and 
whom I distrusted so much, should finally 
select a woman who is able to arouse more 
troublesome impressions than all others 
can do." 

Some kind of fatalism was in this whole 
affair, and without doubt Swirski would 
have found in that coincidence abundant 
material for reflection during the whole 
evening if not for the fact that immedi- 
ately after he entered the house the servant 
handed him two letters. One contained 
an invitation for the ball on the Formida- 
ble, the other was from Mme. Lageat, the 
landlady. She wrote him that she was 



_J.^<<. aj &• -. 



112 On the Sunny Shore. 

going to Marseilles for a conple of days, 
and she also announced some news — that 
slie had found a model which ought to 
satisfy the most exquisite taste — the girl 
was coming to-morrow. 



On the Sunny Shore. 113 



CHAPTER VI. 

Ik fact the announced God's masterpiece 
came the next day at nine o'clock. Swir- 
ski was already dressed, waiting impa- 
tiently and fall of uneasiness. Happily 
his fears proved to he vain: the first glance 
satisfied him. The young girl was tall, 
very graceful, had a small head, delicate 
face, heautiful hair, long eyelashes and 
a very fresh complexion. But Swirski was 
principally pleased that she had "her own 
face " and great charm in its expression. 
*' She has noble movements,'' thought he, 
*' and if she is as well formed as she looks, 
then * Eureka!' I will engage her for a 
long time!" 

He was also impressed by her timidity 



114 



On the Sunnv Shore. 




and frightened looks. It is true he knew 
that models sometimes imitate modesty. 
But he supposed that this one did not 
imitate. 

"^VTiat is thy name, my dear girl?*' 

''Maria Cervi.'^ 

''Art thou from Nice?'* 

" Yes, from Xice/' 

" Hast thou posed already?" 

"Xo, sir.'' 

"Experienced models know what one 
requires from them; there is a great hother 
with fresh ones. Thou never posed in thy 
life?" 

"No, sir.'' 

" How didst thou get the idea to become 
a model?" 

The girl hesitated for a moment and 
blushed. 

"Mme. Lageat told me that I would be 
able to earn some money that way." 

'* Yes, but thou art afraid. Why art 



On the Sunny Shore. 115 

thon afraid? I am not going to eat thee 
np! How much wilt thon ask for the 
sitting?" 

^^Mme. Lageat told me that yon pay 
five francs." 

^^Mme. Lageat was mistaken. I pay 
ten francs." 

The girl's face lighted up with joy, and 
she hlnshed still more. 

*' When shall I hegin?" she asked with 
tremhling voice. 

"To-day — immediately!" said Swirski, 
pointing to the unfinished picture. " There 
is the screen; go and undress! Only to 
the waist. Thou wilt pose for the head, 
for the breast and part of the hips." 

She turned toward him her astonished 
face, and her hands dropped slowly to her 
side. 

"What do you mean, sir?" asked she 
timidly, looking at him with frightened 
eyes. 



116 On the Sunny Shore. 

He answered a little bit impatiently: 

" My dear girl, I understand that the 
first time it may be hard. But either one 
is a model or not. I need a head, a bust 
and a part of the hips very badly, un- 
derstand? Then thou must know that 
there is nothing bad, and before all thou 
must think it over, and be quick, because 
if thou dost not wish, I will be obliged 
to find some one else.'^ 

He spoke thus a little bit uneasily, be- 
cause inwardly he wished her to stay, and 
if she did not he would be obliged to search 
for another. In the meanwhile there was 
a silence. The model became very pale, 
but after awhile she went quietly behind 
the screen. 

Swirski began to move the easels toward 
the window and place them properly, in 
the meanwhile thinking: 

" She will become accustomed, and in a 
week will laugh at her scruples," 



On the Sunny Shore. 117 

Then he placed a sofa, on which the 
model was to lie down, picked up his 
brushes and became impatient: 

"Well, art thou ready r 

Silence. 

"Decide! What a joke!" 

From behind the screen was heard a 
voice vibrating with an entreating suppli- 
cation. 

"Panie!* I thought that— There is 
great misery in our house, but that way — 
I — can't! If you would be so kind as to 
let me pose only for the head — even for 
three francs, even for two — if you would 
be so kind " 

And the words changed into a sobbing. 

Swirski turned toward the screen, 
dropped his brushes and opened his mouth. 
He was astounded, because the model 
spoke in his own language. 

• From "Pan;" lord. 



118 On the Sunny Shore. 

"So yon are a Polish lady 5^' said he 
finally, and he forgot that awhile hefore 
he had nsed " thou '^ in speaking to her. 

"Yes, Panie! It is — my father was an 
Italian, hut ray grandfather was a Pole.*' 

There was silence again. Swirski re- 
gained his self-possession and said : 

" Dress yourself again. You shall pose 
only for the head.^' 

But evidently she had not even begun 
to undress, because she came from behind 
the screen immediately, bashful and con- 
fused, full of fright and with traces of 
tears on her cheeks. 

"Thank you, sir,*' said she. "You 
are — You must excuse me, but *' 

" Be quiet," interrupted Swirski. '* Here 
is a chair! be quiet. You will pose for 
the head — To the deuce! I did not 
wish to insult you. Do you see this pic- 
ture? I needed a model to paint this 
figure. But as long as you can't stand it. 




On the Sunny Shore. 119 

thafs diflferent, especially when you are a 
Polish lady." 

The tears hegan to flow again^ but her 
blue eyes looked at him with gratitude; 
he found a bottle of wine, poured some 
into a glass, and handing it to her, said: 

*' You must drink. I have some crack- 
ers somewhere, but the deuce knows where 
they are. Pray be quiet." 

Speaking thus, he looked at her with 
honest sympathy, then he said: 

^^ Poor child!" 

Then he put the easel in its former 
place, saying: 

"You can't pose to-day; you are too 
excited. We shall begin to-morrow. Let 
us talk to-day. Who could suppose Maria 
Cervi to be a Polish lady? You said your 
grandfather was a Pole. Is he living?" 

"He is living, but for two years has 
been unable to walk." 

"What is his name?" 



120 On the Sunny Shore. 



^ 



€f 



Orysiewich/' answered she, pronounc- 
ing it with a foreign accent. 

*' I know the name. How long since he 
left the country?^' 

'* Grandpa has not heen in Poland for 
sixty-five years. He served in the Italian 
army, then in a bank in Nice.'' 

'^ How old is he?'' 

^' Grandpa is ninety." 

^' Your father's name was Cervi?" 

" Yes. Papa came from Nice, but he 
also served in the Italian army." 

" How long since he died?" 

^^Five years ago." 

^'Is your mother living?" 

" My mother is living. We live together 
in old Nice." 

"That's right," said Swirski. "One 
question more: Does your mother know 
that you wished to become a model?" 

The girl answered hesitatingly: 

"No. Mother doesn't know it. Mme. 



On the Sunnj' Shore. 121 

Lageat told me that in that way I could 
earn five francs a day, and as we are poor — 
very poor — therefore — I was obliged *' 

Swirski with a quick glance took in the 
girl from her feet to the top of her head, 
and he knew she was speaking the truth. 
Everything spoke of poverty, from the hat 
and the old, worn-out, faded dress, of 
which one could see every thread of its 
texture, to the gloves, which were mended 
and grown red. 

" You had better go home now,^^ said 
he, " and tell your mother that the painter 
Swirski wishes you to pose to him for a 
head. Tell her also that the painter will 
call at your house in order to beg her to 
accompany you to his studio when you 
come to pose, and that he will pay you ten 
francs a day.'* 

Panna Cervi thanked him with tears in 
her eyes. And he, noticing her confusion, 
said: 




122 On the Sunny Shore. 

" I will be there within one hour. You 
look to be a very honest girl. You must 
trust me. I am a little bit of a bear^ but 
I can understand many things. Aha! one 
thing! I will not give you money now, 
for you would be obliged to explain how 
you got it, but I will bring and ad- 
vance to you what will bo necessary. I 
have sometimes been hard up, and I know 
what a quick help means. Don^t thank 
me! Good-by, child — in an hour!" 

Having asked her address, he conducted 
the girl downstairs. In an hour he 
took a carriage and told the coachman to 
drive him to old Nice. Everything that 
had happened seemed to him so strange 
that he could not think of anything else. 
In the meanwhile he was satisfied as an 
honest man is satisfied when he has acted 
as ho ought to act toward himself and an- 
other who was deserving of kindness. 

'^ If Panna Corvi is not a good and honest 



On the Sunny Shore. 123 

girl/' he thought, " then I am the biggest 
ass in the whole of Liguria." 

But he did not admit that it was possi- 
ble. On the contrary he was sure that he 
had met a very honest womanly soul, and 
he was pleased that this soul was placed 
in such a young and beautiful body. 

Finally the carriage stopped before an 
old and weatherbeaten house. The house- 
keeper contemptuously showed Swirski to 
Pani Cervi's apartments. 

*'A home of misery!" thought the 
painter, mounting the dirty stairs. 

He rapped at the door. 

*' Come in!" said a voice within. Swir- 
ski entered. He was welcomed by a 
woman about forty years old, dressed in 
black — thin, sad, evidently broken in 
health, but having nothing common in 
her manner. Beside her stood Panna 
Cervi. 

"I know all about it, and I thank you 



124 On the Sunny Shore. 

from my heart and soul T' said Pani Cervi. 
"May God reward and bless you/' 

Speaking thus^ she seized his hand and 
bent her head as if she wished to kiss it. 
But he withdrew it quickly, and then, 
wishing to break the solemnity of the mo- 
ment, he turned toward Panna Maria, and, 
threatening her with his iSnger, said, with 
the freedom of an old friend: 

"Aha! this young person told every- 
thing!" Panna Maria, instead of answer- 
ing, smiled at him, a little bit sadly and 
with embarrassment. She seemed to him 
more beautiful than in the studio. He 
noticed also that she had around her neck 
a pink ribbon, which she had not had 
before. He was flattered, because it was 
a proof that she did not consider him 
an old man, and had dressed to please 
him. 

In the meanwhile Pani Cervi said : " Yes, 
Maria told me everything. God watched 




On the Sunny Shore. 125 

over her and over ns^ and He helped her 
to meet such a good man as yon are.'^ 

To this Swirski said : 

" Panna Maria spoke to me about the 
hardships in which you are living, but 
pray believe that it is a blessing, even 
in hard circumstances, to have such a 
daughter/' 

" Yes,'* quietly answered Pani Cervi. 

''As for me, I am glad to have met you, 
because I was searching in vain. Now I 
am easy about my picture. Only I must 
assure myself about my model. ^' 

And speaking thus, he took three hun- 
dred francs from his pocketbook and 
begged of Pani Cervi to accept it, assur- 
ing her that he was doing a splendid busi- 
ness, and thanks to Panna Maria he would 
get lots of money for his picture. And 
then he expressed a desire to meet ''grand- 
pa,'* because he was always fond of old 
soldiers. 



126 On the Sunny Shore. 

Fauna Maria rushed into the second 
room; after a moment the noise of a chair 
on wheels was heard, and the grandfather, 
whom they had dressed, in honor of the 
guest, in a uniform and all the decorations 
received in Italy, was drawn into the room. 

Swirski then perceived the small and 
wrinkled face of an old man, with snow- 
white mustache and hair; he had hlue, 
widely-opened eyes, resembling those of a 
child. 

'^ Grandpa, '* said Panna Maria, bending 
down so that the old man could see her 
lips, and speaking precisely, slowly and 
loudly, ^' it's Pan Swirski, a countryman, 
an artist." 

The old man turned his blue eyes toward 
him, looked at him and repeated: 

'' Countryman ? Yes ! Countryman! '' 

Then he smiled, looked at his daughter 
and granddaughter, then again at Swirski; 
for awhile he was searching for words; 




a 

\ 



On the Sunnv Shore. 127 

finally he asked^ in old and trembling 
voice: 

"And in the spring — what?*' 

Evidently he had some thought in his 
mind that he could not express. He bent 
his trembling head on the armchair, and 
looking at the window he smiled, repeat- 
ing: 

^^ Yes, yes! It will be r 

"He is always that way T' said Panna 
Maria. 

Swirski looked at him with emotion and 
Pani Cervi began to talk about her father 
and husband. Both were in the war 
against Austria for the independence of 
Italy. They lived in Florence for some 
time, and returned to Nice only when 
Home was taken. In Nice the younger 
comrade had married Orysiewich's daugh- 
ter, and both got positions in a bank. 
Everything went smoothly, till a few 
years ago Cervi was killed in a railroad 



128 On the Sunny Shore. 

accident, and Orysiewich lost his position 
on account of old age. Since that time 
their hardships began, because the only 
source for their living was a pension of 
six hundred lires paid to the old man by 
the Italian government. It was enough 
to preserve them from starvation, but not 
enough to live on. Both women earned 
something by sewing and teaching, but in 
the summer, when everything became 
quiet in Nice, and one could not earn 
anything, their small resources were soon 
exhausted. For two years the old man 
had not walked; ho was sick, and being 
obliged to pay the doctor and buy medi- 
cine, they grew poorer and poorer. 

Swirski while listening made two men- 
tal observations: In the first place, that 
Pani Cervi spoke Polish worse than her 
daughter. Evidently the old man, during 
the campaign, had not devoted as much 
time to his daughter as he did after- 




On the Sunny Shore. 129 

ward to his granddanghter. But the 
other idea was more important to 
Swirski. He thought that this grand- 
daughter, being such a beautiful girl, 
could in Nice, on that shore, on which 
every year were strolling many million- 
aires, get plenty of gold, keep carriages, 
servants, and have a boudoir upholstered 
with satin. But she wore an old dress, 
and a faded pink ribbon was her only 
luxury. There must be some force 
which preserved her from evil. "For 
this,'' Swirski said to himself, " two things 
are necessary: a pure nature and an hon- 
est bringing up. There is no doubt that I 
have met both.'' 

And he felt at ease among these people. 
He noticed also that poverty had not 
rubbed out the traces of good breeding 
and of a certain refinement which comes 
from within and seems to be something 
natural. Both mother and daughter re- 



130 On the Sunny Shore. 

ceived him as a providential gnest, but in 
their words and mien one could still see a 
greater pleasure that they had met an 
honest man than because he had helped 
them. 

It was possible that those throe hundred 
francs spared the family many sorrows 
and humiliations, but he felt, just the 
same, that both women were more grateful 
to him that in the studio he had acted 
like a man with a good and tender heart 
who had understood the girFs grief, 
shame and sacrifice. But he was pleased 
most by noticing that in Panna Cervi's 
bashfulness, in her charming looks, there 
was that embarrassment which a girl 
only feels in the presence of a man toward 
whom she feels gratitude, and who in the 
meanwhile, according to Swirski's own 
expression, ''is still in the circulation." 
He was forty-five years old, and notwith- 
standing a young heart, he began to doubt 




On the Sunny Shore. 131 

himself; therefore that pink ribbon and 
his observation caused him real pleasure. 
And he talked to them with as much 
respect and attention as if they were ladies 
of the best society^ and seeing this^ they 
appreciated that he was pleased. He 
shook hands with both of them^ and when 
Panna Maria, with drooping eyes, gave 
him the whole strength of her warm 
and young hand, he became a little bit 
dizzy, and his head was so filled with 
the pretty model that the coachman was 
obliged to ask him twice where he wished 
to go. 

While in the carriage he was thinking 
that it would not be proper to paint Panna 
Marians head on some other girl's body, 
and he tried to persuade himself that it 
would be better to cover the bust of the 
sleeping girl with a light drapery. 

"When I return I will call any model; 
I will cover her and make such changes 



132 On the Sunny Shore. 

that to-morrow they may find the thing 
ready," said he to himself. 

Then he thought that he could not hire 
Panna Cervi forever, and he was sorry 
for it. 

The carriage stopped before the studio. 
Swirski paid the driver and stepped out. 

" There is a telegram for you, sir," said 
the housekeeper to him. 

The painter awakened as from a dream. 

''Aha!" said he; ''very well! give it to 
me!" 

And having taken the telegram from 
the housekeeper, he opened it impatiently. 
But as soon as he glanced at it astonish- 
ment and fright appeared on his face, 
because the telegram read as follows: 

"Kresowicz killed himself an hour ago. 
Come. Helene.'^ 




On the Sunny Shore. 133 



CHAPTER VII. 

Whex Pani Elzen met Swirski her face 
looked confused and irritated; her eyes 
were dry bnt red, as if she had been cry- 
ing; her manner was full of impatience. 

"Have you received any letter?^' she 
asked him hastily. 

''No. I received only yoar telegram. 
What a misfortune!" 

''I thonght he had written to you.'* 

'' No. When did it happen?" 

''This morning; they heard a shot in 
his room. The servants rushed in and 
found him dead." 

" Here in the hotel?" 

"No. Happily he went yesterday to 
Contamine." 



134 On the Sunny Shore. 

*' What is the cause of it?" 

''How can I know?" she answered im- 
patiently. 

" Because as far as I know he did not 
gamble." 

''No. They found some money on 
him." 

" Was it yesterday that you dismissed 
him?" 

"Yes, but he asked rae to do it." 

"Perhaps he took it too seriously." 

'*I don't know," she said feverishly. 
"If he wanted to kill himself he ought 
to have gone away. But he was a mad- 
man — that explains everything! Why did 
he not go away?" 

Swirski looked at her attentively. 

" Quiet yourself," said he. 

But she misunderstood him and said: 

"Because it's very unpleasant for me, 
and then there might be some troublel 
Who knows if I will not be obliged to go to 



N 



On the Sunny Shore. 135 

court as a witness? How can I know? 
What a dreadful thing! And then there 
will be some gossip. First Wiadrowski! 
I wanted to ask you to tell among yonr 
friends that he gambled and had lost my 
money, and that was the reason for the 
suicide. If yon think that it will be nec- 
essary to repeat it in court it will then be 
better not to speak about it, because it 
may come out that it is not true; but you 
can say it to the people. If he had gone 
at least to Mentona or to Nice! Then 
God knows whether he had written any- 
thing before his death in order to avenge 
himself on me. If some letter should fall 
into the hands of a newspaper man! One 
may expect anything from this kind of 
people. I wanted to leave Nice, bnt now 

I 77lUSt.'' 

Swirski looked more and more atten- 
tively on her troubled face with closed 
lips; finally he said: 




136 On the Sunny Shore. 

''How horrid!" 

''Yes, it is horridi" answered Pani El- 
zen. " Would it not increase the gossip 
if we leave to-morrow?'' 

"I don't think so/' said Swirski. 

And he inquired about the hotel in 
which Kresowicz shot himself, and said 
that he would go there to get some news 
and arrange for the funeral. 

But she wanted to stop him, so he said: 

" Madam! he is not a dog, but a man, 
and it's proper to bury him at least/' 

" Somebody will bury him without you," 
she answered. 

Swirski took leave, however, and went 
out. On the stairs of the hotel he raised 
his hand to his forehead and repeated: 

'* How horrid!" 

He knew by experience how far human 
egotism can go; he knew also that women 
in egotism as well as in self-denial overtop 
men; he recollected that he had already 




On the Sunny Shore. 137 

meb snch types of womanhood, among 
whom, under the exterior coat of varnish, 
the rough, animal-like egotism was hid- 
den—in whom all moral instinct ended 
where the personal interest began. Pani 
Elzen, however, was able to astonish him. 
'^ This unfortunate man," said he to him- 
self, *^ was an instructor of her children; 
he used to live with her under the same 
roof, and was in love with her. And she? 
Not a word of sympathy, of pity! Noth- 
ing and nothing! She is angry with him 
for the trouble he has caused her, that ho 
did not go far from the city, that he has 
spoiled the season for her, that they will 
talk about her; but she never thought to 
ask what was the matter with him, why 
he killed himself, and had ho not done it 
for her? And in her irritation she forgot 
that she had betrayed herself, and that, if 
not on account of good heart, at least on 
account of good sense, she ought to show 



138 On the Sunny Shore. 

to me that she is better than that. Ah! 
what a spiritnal barbarism ! Appearances, 
appearances that is all^ and nnder a French 
corset and the French accent the primi- 
tive nature of a true Zulu woman! Civi- 
lization applied to the skin like powder! 
Even she is cheeky enough to ask me to 
tell the people that he was gambling with 
her money. Pooh! May a thunderbolt 
strike all this business !'' 

Thus thiuking and speaking, he reached 
Gondamine and found the small hotel in 
which the suicide was committed. In 
Kresowicz's room he found a physician 
and a curt official, who were very glad he 
had come, because they expected he could 
give them some information about the 
dead man. 

^* He left a note,*' said the official, " ask- 
ing to bo buried in a common grave, and 
the money found with him to be sent to 



On the Sunny Shore. 139 

Znrich to an address given by him. He 
has burned all papers.'' 

Swirski looked at Eresowicz, who was 
lying on the bed with opened, frightened 
eyes. 

'^ The dead man considered himself sick 
without any hope of recovery," said he; 
*' that's probably the reason he has com- 
mitted suicide. He never gambled." 

Then he said everything he knew about 
Kresowicz, left money enough to purchase 
a separate grave, and went out. 

While walking he recollected what 
Kresowicz said to him in Nice about mi- 
crobes, also his answer given to Wiad row- 
ski^ that he had joined the society of 
"silent ones/' and he convinced himself 
that the young student killed himself 
because he doubted if he could ever be 
cured. 

But he understood also that some sec- 
ondary reasons might be admitted, and 



140 On the Sunny Shore. 

among them the unhappy loYe for Pani 
Elzen and his parting from her. These 
thoughts made him sad. Kresowicz's 
body, with the fright in his eyes, stood 
before him. He thought that nobody 
plunged into that fearful darkness without 
fright, that the whole life, compared with 
the necessity of death, was one of gigantic 
tragical nonsense, and he returned to Pani 
Elzen very low spirited. 

She was relieved when she learned that 
Kresowicz had not left any papers. She 
said that she would send the money nec- 
essary for a decent funeral, and now talked 
about him with a certain pity. But she 
could not make Swirski stay with her. 
The painter announced that he must go 
home. 

^'But I shall see yon at least in the 
evening?" said she, shaking hands with 
him. "I wanted to go to Nice toward 
evening, and go with you." 




On the Sunny Shore. 141 

'^ Where ?^' asked Swirski, astonished. 

"Have you forgotten? To the hall on 
board the Formidable/' 

"Ah! you are then going to the ball?'' 

"If you only knew how diflficult it is 
for me, especially after such an unpleasant 
accident, you would pity me, because, in 
fact, I am sorry for that poor young man. 
But I must do it, if only for the reason 
that people may not haye cause for sup- 
position." 

" So? Good-by!" said Swirski. 

And a few moments afterward, sitting 
in the train, he said to himself: 

" I will be a dead crab if I go with you 
to a ball on the Formidable or to any other 
ball." 



142 On the Sunny Shore. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

But the next day his sadness had passed 
when Pani Cerri and Panna Maria came to 
his stndio. Seeing the beautiful fresh 
face of the girl he became eyen joyful. 

In the studio everything was ready; the 
easel w^as placed near the window, the sofa 
for the use of the model not far from it. 
Pani Lagoat received the most precise 
order not to let anybody in, even if Queen 
Victoria herself should call. 

Swirski drew the curtains and darkened 
the window in the ceiling, but while doing 
this he looked continually at his gracious 
model. 

In the meanwhile the ladies took off 
their hats and Panna Maria asked: 



^ 



On the Sunny Shore. 143 

'' What shall I do now?*' 

" You must first let your hair fall," said 
Swirski. 

He approached her and she raised both 
hands to her head. It was apparent that 
his request made her uneasy, and that it 
seemed strange to her. And Swirski 
looked at her confused face, drooped eyes, 
bent figure, and the elegant lines of her 
hips, and thought that in this big pail of 
filth — Nice — he had discoTered a true 
pearl. 

After awhile her hair fell oyer her 
shoulders. Panna Maria shook her head 
to dishevel it, and it covered her com- 
pletely. 

^^Corpo Dio r exclaimed Swirski. The 
more difficult task was to pose the model. 
Swirski noticed that the girl's heart beat 
quicker, that her breast heaved faster, 
and her cheeks burned as though she was 
obliged to fight against an instinctive 






144 On the Sunny Shore. 

bashfnlnessy with an nneasiness similar 
to that which causes one an unknown 
pleasure. 

Therefore he spoke to himself: "No! 
she is not a common model — she is quite 
different — and I am not looking at her 
simply as a painter would/' In fact he was 
embarrassed, and his fingers trembled 
when he was placing her head on a cushion; 
but wishing to got rid of the agitation he 
began to talk jokingly: 

"Keep quiet now! That way! One 
must do something for art. Now, that's 
well! How beautiful your profile looks on 
the red ground! If you could see it — ^but 
you can't! Don't smile — it's forbidden. 
You must sleep! I am going to paint 
immediately!" 

And he began to work, but soon stopped 
and asked Pani Cervi about past times. 
He learned from her that Maria had had a 
very good position in the house of the 




On the Sunny Shore. 145 

Countess Dziadzikiewich, nSe Atrament, 
daughter of a rich manufacturer from 
Lodz. But she dismissed her on learning 
that Maria's father and grandfather had 
served in the Italian army. It was very 
hard for them, because they both wished 
very much that Maria might become a 
reader with some lady living in Nice dur- 
ing the winter, as then they would not be 
obliged to separate. 

In Swirski the painter awakened. He 
frowned, looked over the handle of the 
brush to the reclining girl, and painted 
diligently. From time to time he put 
aside the palette and brushes, approached 
the model and corrected the position of her 
head. Then he bent over her more than 
was necessary for the interest of art, 
and when he felt the warmth of her young 
body, when he looked on her long 
eyelashes and the slightly opened mouth, 
a shiver ran through his bones, his 



146 On the Sunny Shore. 

fingers trembled nervously, and he spoke 
to himself inwardly: 

"Keep up, old man! To the deucel 
keep up!'* 

Surely he was very fond of her. Her 
embarrassment, her blushes, her mod- 
esty, coupled with a certain virginal 
coquettishness, made him happy. All 
this proved to him that she did not con- 
sider him an old man. He felt that 
she liked him also. Her grandfather 
surely had told her marvelous things about 
his countrymen, and maybe had excited 
her imagination. 

She doubtless thought she had now met 
one of them — not a common one — ^honest, 
famous, who appeared to her as in a fairy 
tale, at the moment of greatest need, 
with help and kindness. How could she 
help feeling sympathy for him and looking 
at him with gratitude? 

All these things made the time pass 




On the Sunny Shore. 147 

very rapidly to Swirski, and he did not 
notice that it was already noontime. But 
at twelve o'clock Panna Maria said that 
they must go back, because they had left 
grandpa alone and that they must serve 
him his luncheon. Swirski asked them 
to come in the afternoon. If they did not 
wish to leave the old man alone perhaps 
they would ask some one to stay with 
him. Perhaps the housekeeper, or her 
husband, would do it. There is the ques- 
tion about the picture! Two sittings a 
day would bo reciprocally useful. If 
there should be a necessity for paying 
somebody to watch the old man, he would 
consider it a favor if they would permit 
him to meet the expense, because, above 
all, he cared for the picture. 

Two sittings a day for Panna Maria was 
very good business, and considering the 
misery in the house she could not refuse 
it. Therefore they agreed to come again 




148 On the Snnny Shore. 

at two o'clock. Happy Swirski deter- 
mined to conduct them home. 

At the door of the house the house- 
keeper handed to Swirski a bunch of musk 
roses, telling him that they were brought 
by two lovely boys, and that they wished 
to enter the studio, but she did not let 
them in. 

Swirski answered that she acted wisely, 
and he gave the roses to Panna Maria. In 
a few moments they were on the Prome- 
nade des Anglais. Nice seemed to Swir- 
ski to be prettier and more animated than 
ever. He enjoyed the noise, which before 
had always made him angry. They met 
Wiadrowski and De Sinten, who stopped, 
having noticed the artist. He saluted 
them and passed, but while passing he 
noticed that De Sinten put his monocle 
to his eye, looked at Panna Maria and ex- 
claimed with astonishment: ^' PrrrisUr 
They both followed him for awhile, but 




On the Sunny Shore. 149 

opposite the Jetee-Promenade Swirski took 
a carriage and conducted the ladies home. 
The idea came to him to invite the 
whole family to a luncheon, but he thought 
there would be a bother with the old man, 
and that, considering their short acquaint- 
ance, such a sudden invitation might sur- 
prise Pani Cervi. Instead of that he 
promised himself that when the old 
man could get some one to take care of 
him, then, in order to save time, he would 
have luncheon served in the studio. After 
he left the ladies at the door he rushed 
to the first hotel he could see, and there 
he swallowed his luncheon without know- 
ing what he was eating. Pani Elzen, 
Romulus and Remus, the bunches of musk 
roses passed in his mind. A few days ago 
the beautiful widow and his relation to- 
ward her were questions of great impor- 
tance to him. He remembered well that 
inward fight he had undergone on the sea 



i 



150 On the Sunny Shore. 

coming back from Ville Franche. Now 
he said to himself: *'It doesn't exist for 
me any more and I shall not think of it 
longer." And he did not feel the slight- 
est uneasiness or smallest remorse. On 
the contrary, it seemed to him that some 
heavy burden had fallen from his shoulders. 
All his thoughts returned to Panna Maria. 
She was in his eyes and in his head; by 
the strength of imagination he saw her 
again with her disheveled hair, closed 
eyelids, and when he thought that in about 
an hour he would be able to touch her 
temples with his fingers, to bend again 
over her, and feel the warmth from her 
young body, he was as intoxicated as 
if he had drank wine, and he asked 
himself for the second time: 

** Well, what will become of you, old 
man?" 

But when he came back to his studio he 
found Pani Elzen's telegram: "I am ex- 



I 



On the Sunny Shore. 151 

pecting you at six o*clock for dinner/' 
Swirski crumpled it and put it in his 
pocket, and when Pani Cervi came with 
her daughter he had forgotten about it so 
completely that, after having finished his 
work, toward five o'clock, he began to 
think where he should go to dine, and he 
was mad that he did not know what to do 
in the evening. 



i 



162 On the Sunny Shore. 



CHAPTER IX. 

The next day when Mme. Lageat 
brought the luncheon for three people 
she said that an hour before those two 
lovely boys were there again, but this time 
with an elegantly dressed lady. 

'*The young lady wanted to see you, 
but I told her you had gone to Antibes.*' 

"To Toulon! To Toulon!" answered 
the painter merrily. 

But the next day Mme. Lageat could 
not communicate Swirski^s answer, because 
only a letter came. Swirski did not read 
it at all. Instead, it happened that day 
that, wishing to correct Panna Maria's 
''position," he put his hands under her 
shoulders and lifted her so that their breasts 




On the Sunny Shore. 153 

tonched and her breath bathed his face. 
She became very much confused, and he 
said to himself that if such a moment 
would only last long enough it would be 
worth while to give his life for it. 

In the evening he spoke to himself thus: 

** Your senses are working in you dif- 
ferently from what they did before, because 
this time your soul is with them, and all 
because she is a child who in this pudri- 
dero of Nice has remained pure. It's not 
her merit, but her nature, and where 
can a person find a similar one? This 
time I am not deceiving myself and don't 
persuade myself — the reality speaks.*' 

And it seemed to him that he had a 
sweet dream. 

Two days afterward he received another 
dispatch, which was given to him in the 
presence of both ladies. 

He opened it rather unwillingly, glanced 
at it, and his face expressed his confusion. 



154 On the Sunny Shore. 

'^ Yon must excuse me, ladies/^ he said 
after awhile, *' I have received such news 
that I am obliged to be going immediately/' 

"Nothing bad at least ?^' asked Pani 
Cervi solicitously. 

"No! no! But it may be that I will 
not be able to be present for the afternoon 
sitting. At any rate it will be ended to- 
day, and to-morrow I will have peace." 

Having said this, he took leave of them 
a bit feverishly but cordially, and a few 
moments afterward he was sitting in the 
carriage on the road to Monte Carlo. 

When he passed the JetSe-Promenade he 
pulled out the dispatch and read it again. 
It was as follows: 

" I am waiting for you this afternoon. 
If you do not come by the four-o'clock 
tram I know what I shall do. 

"Morphine.'' 

He was afraid of this signature, for he 



> 



On the Sunny Shore. 155 

was nnder the influence of Kresowicz's 
recent suicide. 

'* Who knows/^ said he to himself, "to 
what deed it may lead the woman — if not 
in her offended love, then in her offended 
selfishness? I ought not to act as I have 
acted. It was a very easy matter to answer 
the first letter — and to hreak with her. 
One mustn't play with anybody, no matter 
if he is good or bad. This time I will 
break with her, but I must do it now, and 
not wait till four o'clock." 

And he told the coachman to hasten. 
He tried to persuade himself that Pani 
Elzen would not make any attempt on her 
life. But there were moments when he 
doubted whether her monstrous egotism, 
if offended, would not push her to commit 
such a dreadful deed. 

He remembered that in her character 
there was a certain stubbornness, a certain 
determination and courage. It is trne 



156 On the Sunny Shore. 

that the thought of the children ought to 
stop her, but will it stop her? Does she 
really care about those children? And 
thinking what might happen, his hair 
stood up on end. His conscience began 
to trouble hira again and a new fight 
commenced within him. Panna Maria's 
picture passed before his eyes continually, 
arousing bitter sorrow. 

'*It is true," he repeated to himself, 
** that I am going to break my engage- 
ment, but I feel a great uneasiness. What 
shall I do if this bad, vain and revengeful 
woman should say to me, * You or mor- 
phine?''' 

And in the meanwhile, aside from un- 
easiness and uncertainty, a disgust seized 
him, because it seemed to him that the 
question put in that way would be worthy 
of some false heroine belonging to ''bad 
literature." 

But what would it be if she should put 



-> 



On the Sunny Shore. 157 

it that way? In society, especially in Nice, 
there are many women who belong to 
"bad literature/' 

Amid these thoughts and amid the 
clouds of gray dust he arrived at last at 
Monte Carlo and told the coachman to 
stop at the Hotel de Paris. But before 
he could alight he perceived on the green- 
sward Romulus and Bemus playing ball. 
They rushed toward him. 

" Good-morning, sir!*' 

" Good-morning!" 

" Good-morning! Is your mother in her 
room?" 

" No. Maman went on horseback with 
Monsieur de Sinten." 

There was a silence. 

"Ah! mamma went with Monsieur de 
Sinten!" repeated Swirski. " Very well !" 

After awhile he added: 

"It's true! She did not expect me till 
four o'clock!" 



158 On the Sunny Shore. 

Suddenly he began to langh: 

"The drama is ended by a farce. I 
have forgotten — we are on the Bivieral 
What an ass I am!" 

"Will you wait for mamanV* asked 
Bomulus. 

"No. Boys, listen: Tell your mother 
that I came to bid her good-by, and that I 
am sorry I did not see her, because to-day 
I am going away." 

And he told the coachman to return to 
Nice. 

In the evening he received a telegram 
with only one word in it — "Villain." 

When he read it, it made him merry, 
because it was not signed "Morphine/' 



■% 



On the Sunny Shore. 159 



CHAPTER X. 

Two weeks after the picture represent- 
ing ^' Sleep and Death" was finished 
Swirski began another, which he called 
"Euterpe/' But he could not work. He 
complained that the light was too sharp, 
and, instead of painting, looked at the 
beautiful Panna Maria's face^ as if he 
was searching for Euterpe's expression. 
He looked at her so intently that under 
the influence of his looks Panna Maria 
blushed, and he became more and more 
uneasy. Finally one morning he said 
suddenly, with strange, changed voice: 

" I notice one thing — that you both love 
Italy very much." 

'^ We and grandpa also!" answered Pan- 
na Maria. 



160 On the Sunny Shore. 

**And I also. Half of my life I spent 
in Florence and in Rome. There the 
light is not so sharp^ and one may paint 
all day long. Yes! Who could not love 
Italy? Do you know about what I am 
thinking sometimes?^' 

Panua Maria bent her head and looked 
at him attentively, as was her custom 
when she was listening to him. 

" I think that every man has two father- 
lands: one his own, and the other — Italy. 
Because all culture, and all art, and all 
knowledge — everything comes from there. 
Lot us take renaissance. Truly! Every- 
body is a child, or at least grandchild of 
Italy/' 

" Yes,'' answered Panna Maria. 

He spoke further: 

"I don't remember whether I told you 
that I have a studio in Rome, on the Via 
Marghetti, and since the light has become 
so sharp here, I long for my studio. 



> 



On the Sunny Shore. 161 

How lovely it would be if we could go to 
Kome! Afterward we would go to War- 



saw. 



fy 



"It's impossible \" answered Panna Maria 
with a sad smile. 

He approached her suddenly, and tak- 
ing hold of both her hands, spoke, looking 
into her eyes with a great tenderness: 

" Yes, it's possible, my dearest! Don't 
you gaess how?" 

And when she became pale he pressed 
her hands to his breast and added: 

'* Give me yourself!" 



THE EKD. 



i2fnOt cidiA, $i,2S 



JASPER FAIRFAX 

BY 

MARGRET HOLMES 

Author of "Chamber Over the Gate," Etc., Etc. 



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